Editors

LarikaLarika Bibliophile
edited October 2018 in General Discussions
After watching a very good programme about T.S.Elliot, one of my favourite poets, I decided to find the edited copy made by Ezra Pound. I saw great long passages crossed out by him. In fact so much of this poem was changed by Ezra Pound that I wondered if it could still be called Elliot's work. I know editors are important but how many of them act like Ezra Pound. I wouldn't want my work treated so viciously, although I must admit that the critics say it was the editing that made The Waste Land so great!
«1

Comments

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited October 2018
    You really can't take isolated examples such as this as representing how professional editors working in traditional publishing act. That is just not what they do. There are a couple of good reasons for this.

    The first one is easy: Editors have other things to do than rewrite people's books for them.

    Second, the editor wants your book to be in your voice, not theirs. 
     
    Finally, if your book required massive rewriting it probably would not have been accepted in the first place.

    What an editor at a traditional publisher will do is work with the author, making suggestions as to how the book might be made better. This is an important step because the editor is totally objective and will see things that the author cannot. These might be matters relating to character development, dialog, cutting unnecessary exposition, adding background, making sure the story makes sense and is told in the best order, etc. etc. There are a thousand things. But, the editor does not make any of these changes themselves. It is up to the author to do that. For one thing, as I said, the book's voice needs to be consistent. Any changes will be the way the author sees how they should be made and will be in the author's own words. For instance, the author may find an entirely different way of solving a problem than the way the editor suggested. An author is free to disagree with their editor, too. They might talk them out of having to make a change, or they may suggest an alternate way to resolve an issue. 

    All of this applies as well to the copy editor, who is responsible for the book's grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. He or she will only indicate where errors were made. It is up to the author to fix them.

    My 60th commercially published book will be out in ten days. Not once, in all of those projects, did an editor ever lay so much as a finger on a single syllable. This isn't to say I don't get back manuscripts that I had thought were as perfect as they could possibly be and find them covered in red marks from front to back! It makes me wince every time but, in the final analysis, it's a good thing. Better that the editor find a place where I made a mistake or was confusing than have a reader do it.


    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    I have not seen the programme about T.S.Elliot so I cannot really comment on that.

    You really can't take isolated examples such as this as representing how professional editors working in traditional publishing act.

    It may not be that isolated, particularly once a writer becomes famous. But it was not uncommon in those days for secretaries and typists to 'make good' manuscripts handwritten by their often drunk or high employers. Perhaps it's still true.

    That is just not what they do.

    In many Thanks To pages there are so many people named as helping, including an editor, one has to wonder just how much input all those people needed to make. (And I mean books of fiction.)

     There are a couple of good reasons for this.

    The first one is easy: Editors have other things to do than rewrite people's books for them.

    Prolific and famous writers often eventually have a team working for or with them, often including a dedicated editor. It's often as they start to get older. Also as they get older, they collaborate more with other named writers, and one has to wonder if the very famous one only acted as a an advising editor, with that name prominent on the cover because it's their name that sells books. There's also the problem writers face, famous or not. One has an idea but is not sure how to develop it. If one is a famous top seller then a publisher will often give them a lot of help to progress the idea. Often with the aid of a dedicated editor.

    Second, the editor wants your book to be in your voice, not theirs.

    That can be true, but when a publisher's editor makes suggestions, that for no other reason than that in their mind will make the story more saleable, that if not taken on,  may end up with the story abandoned. Publishers are in business to make money, and they 'know best.'
     
    Finally, if your book required massive rewriting it probably would not have been accepted in the first place.

    Very true, unless one is already a famous writer. Maybe that explains all the Thank Yous in many frontmatters.

    What an editor at a traditional publisher will do is work with the author, making suggestions as to how the book might be made better.

    Indeed. So it sells.

    This is an important step because the editor is totally objective and will see things that the author cannot. These might be matters relating to character development, dialog, cutting unnecessary exposition, adding background, making sure the story makes sense and is told in the best order, etc. etc. There are a thousand things.

    So basically suggesting almost everything needs to be changed?  :)

     But, the editor does not make any of these changes themselves. It is up to the author to do that.

    Quite so, and if they do not? ...

     For one thing, as I said, the book's voice needs to be consistent. Any changes will be the way the author sees how they should be made and will be in the author's own words.

    One would hope. Or those own words could be, "I like it the way it is." I would possibly say the same myself.

     For instance, the author may find an entirely different way of solving a problem than the way the editor suggested. An author is free to disagree with their editor, too. They might talk them out of having to make a change, or they may suggest an alternate way to resolve an issue.

    There's always a limit to how long such 'discussions' will last though, before a publisher loses interest. Time is money. I have been known to say, "stick it up your bottom then."

    All of this applies as well to the copy editor, who is responsible for the book's grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. He or she will only indicate where errors were made. It is up to the author to fix them.

    Because the writer's time is not paid for by the publisher. Interestingly, I have been reading a trilogy by Robin Hobb and there are some strange mistakes in it. Do you know when you are reading through your own works and decide to change a word or a phrase? There are obvious instances in the first two (not read the 3rd yet) where that has been done, but they have not deleted the word or phrase they replaced! It can be very distracting.

    My 60th commercially published book will be out in ten days. Not once, in all of those projects, did an editor ever lay so much as a finger on a single syllable.

    There's the advantage of experience for you.

     This isn't to say I don't get back manuscripts that I had thought were as perfect as they could possibly be and find them covered in red marks from front to back! It makes me wince every time but, in the final analysis, it's a good thing. Better that the editor find a place where I made a mistake or was confusing than have a reader do it.

    And you changed them. What would have happened if you refused to?

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited October 2018

    I have not seen the programme about T.S.Elliot so I cannot really comment on that.

    You really can't take isolated examples such as this as representing how professional editors working in traditional publishing act.

    It may not be that isolated, particularly once a writer becomes famous. But it was not uncommon in those days for secretaries and typists to 'make good' manuscripts handwritten by their often drunk or high employers. Perhaps it's still true.

    You are just speculating, evidenced by your qualifying "may" and "perhaps." In any case, what you are describing---rewriting or correcting by employees of the author---is not professional editing.

    That is just not what they do.

    In many Thanks To pages there are so many people named as helping, including an editor, one has to wonder just how much input all those people needed to make. (And I mean books of fiction.)

    All you need to understand why you see so many thanks given to editors is experience first-hand what professional editors do. They are an essential part of the publishing process. A good editor is the best friend an author can have. 

     There are a couple of good reasons for this.

    The first one is easy: Editors have other things to do than rewrite people's books for them.

    Prolific and famous writers often eventually have a team working for or with them, often including a dedicated editor. It's often as they start to get older. Also as they get older, they collaborate more with other named writers, and one has to wonder if the very famous one only acted as a an advising editor, with that name prominent on the cover because it's their name that sells books. There's also the problem writers face, famous or not. One has an idea but is not sure how to develop it. If one is a famous top seller then a publisher will often give them a lot of help to progress the idea. Often with the aid of a dedicated editor.

    It's hard to know where to begin replying to such a long string of speculative generalities, especially when they are preceded by "I wonder if..." 

    Yes, an editor can help an author develop an idea...indeed, an editor can even suggest an idea for a book...but they do not write it. I have had this happen to me at least three times, where an editor has brought a book idea to me.

    Second, the editor wants your book to be in your voice, not theirs.

    That can be true, but when a publisher's editor makes suggestions, that for no other reason than that in their mind will make the story more saleable, that if not taken on,  may end up with the story abandoned. Publishers are in business to make money, and they 'know best.'

    I should count how many times you use the word "may" in this post. 

    Yes, publishers are in business to make money...and for that reason they do not accept manuscripts that they think are not viable. That being said, yes, there are examples of books being ultimately abandoned, but they are by far the exception rather than the rule. 
     
    Finally, if your book required massive rewriting it probably would not have been accepted in the first place.

    Very true, unless one is already a famous writer. Maybe that explains all the Thank Yous in many frontmatters.

    "Maybe" again. 

    ]What an editor at a traditional publisher will do is work with the author, making suggestions as to how the book might be made better.

    Indeed. So it sells.

    Well, of course. And, hopefully, that is also the goal of the author.

    This is an important step because the editor is totally objective and will see things that the author cannot. These might be matters relating to character development, dialog, cutting unnecessary exposition, adding background, making sure the story makes sense and is told in the best order, etc. etc. There are a thousand things.

    So basically suggesting almost everything needs to be changed?  :)

    Yes. If something needs to be changed, it gets mentioned. Why not? You are asking about this as if it is a bad thing.

     But, the editor does not make any of these changes themselves. It is up to the author to do that.

    Quite so, and if they do not? ...

    Then it gets discussed. There are often alternate ways to do something or the author may convince the editor that they are right. 

    The author-editor relationship is not a confrontational one, as you seem to think. It is collaborative, especially in the sense that both are working toward the same goal, each bringing to the book their own individual expertise. The editing of a book is more of a conversation between an author and an editor than a situation where one is giving orders to another.

     For one thing, as I said, the book's voice needs to be consistent. Any changes will be the way the author sees how they should be made and will be in the author's own words.

    One would hope. Or those own words could be, "I like it the way it is." I would possibly say the same myself.

    That's a phrase one hears in these forums a lot! Usually coming from authors who are so in love with their deathless prose that they absolutely cannot see where even one word might be improved. 

    Any author is free to disagree with their editor, as I said. There is often more than one way to get around a problem and the one that the author is most comfortable with is usually the course taken. I can't think of any examples where a book was ultimately abandoned because of an author's refusal to change a sentence.

    Besides, if a book requires serious changes, these are discussed long before a contract is signed. 

    In the now far-distant past when my first three novels were published, I was talking to the editor to whom I had submitted the stories. She had liked the books and had offered me a contract. She asked me, though, if I would consider changing the heroine to a hero. I asked her if publication of the books depended on me doing that. She said no, the only difference would be that they would offer me a slightly smaller advance and give the books a little less promotion since the publisher felt that a book with a female protagonist would be more difficult to market (at the time, apparently, fantasy novels with strong female leads were not quite as common as they are now). I said that I would prefer to not change the character. The editor said, OK, that's fine.

    To soften the blow, the editor said that instead of publishing the MS as a single volume, she wanted to make a trilogy of it. This would mean three advances instead of one, so I actually came out ahead on that. It did mean, however, doing some rewriting so that there would be natural breaks between the books, but the need to do this was also explained. And I agreed to that.

    The point to this story is that changes like these were discussed before a contract was signed. It was not suddenly sprung upon me after the fact. No one said, "Well, you've signed a contract and now we want you to change the gender of your protagonist and if you don't we are going to cancel the book."

     For instance, the author may find an entirely different way of solving a problem than the way the editor suggested. An author is free to disagree with their editor, too. They might talk them out of having to make a change, or they may suggest an alternate way to resolve an issue.

    There's always a limit to how long such 'discussions' will last though, before a publisher loses interest. Time is money. I have been known to say, "stick it up your bottom then."

    All of this applies as well to the copy editor, who is responsible for the book's grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. He or she will only indicate where errors were made. It is up to the author to fix them.

    Because the writer's time is not paid for by the publisher.

    That's one reason. But the primary reason is, as I said, that the book needs to be told in the author's voice.

     Interestingly, I have been reading a trilogy by Robin Hobb and there are some strange mistakes in it. Do you know when you are reading through your own works and decide to change a word or a phrase? There are obvious instances in the first two (not read the 3rd yet) where that has been done, but they have not deleted the word or phrase they replaced! It can be very distracting.

    Well, I suppose so. The point is...?

    My 60th commercially published book will be out in ten days. Not once, in all of those projects, did an editor ever lay so much as a finger on a single syllable.

    There's the advantage of experience for you.

    And it is that experience that informs what I have been writing about the editorial process. ;-)

     This isn't to say I don't get back manuscripts that I had thought were as perfect as they could possibly be and find them covered in red marks from front to back! It makes me wince every time but, in the final analysis, it's a good thing. Better that the editor find a place where I made a mistake or was confusing than have a reader do it.

    And you changed them. What would have happened if you refused to?

    It depends. First of all, though, I think that---like several of your earlier comments have suggested---you are under the impression that the author-editor relationship is a confrontational one, with the latter imposing their will on the former. It is not. 

    Any intelligent author knows that the editor---who probably has a great deal more experience at what they do than the author does---is working toward the same goal as the author. To simply dig one's heels in and refuse to make a change for no other reason than sheer egoism is self-destructive. As I've said, an author can disagree with their editor---I have done it many times. I have not only disagreed with changes but have more than once said that I would prefer not to. In some cases, all I needed to do was explain that I could achieve the same end in a different way, in other cases all I needed to do is explain why I thought something should be left alone. But I would never just dismiss out of hand a suggested change or correction.

    Just as an author should be able to explain why they would not want to make a change, an editor will explain why they think one needs to be made. 

    (By the way, I should probably have made my comment about a heavily marked-up MS a little clearer. It is usually when it comes back from the copy editor that I will see that.)

    Besides, as I suggested earlier, any really serious changes to a book---especially in its structure---would be discussed before a contract was signed. There is a more than tacit understanding that the author will implement any reasonable changes or correct any errors that might eventually show up. It would be pretty unrealistic author who, after all that, thought that their book would go straight from their hands to the printer and binder. 


    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • And some here have taken me to task for being afflicted by a form of logorrhea!
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Good god this is long! And no way to use colours still!


    I have not seen the programme about T.S.Elliot so I cannot really comment on that.

    You really can't take isolated examples such as this as representing how professional editors working in traditional publishing act.

    It may not be that isolated, particularly once a writer becomes famous. But it was not uncommon in those days for secretaries and typists to 'make good' manuscripts handwritten by their often drunk or high employers. Perhaps it's still true.

    You are just speculating,

    No I am not, and it's really not my fault you don't know that.

    evidenced by your qualifying "may" and "perhaps."

    I was just being polite. It also may stop you from perhaps asking for hard proof, which would take time, but films about some writers of classics without doubt demonstrated its truth. But I am meaning before the invention of cheap word processes, of course. Does it still happen? I would speculate that it does.


     In any case, what you are describing---rewriting or correcting by employees of the author---is not professional editing.

    I know quite a few secretaries who used to be employed to turn the written word in to legible type, more or less editing and proofreading along the way, before it was sent off. It was their profession. Again, it's not my fault you don't know any.


    That is just not what they do.

    In many Thanks To pages there are so many people named as helping, including an editor, one has to wonder just how much input all those people needed to make. (And I mean books of fiction.)

    All you need to understand why you see so many thanks given to editors is experience first-hand what professional editors do. They are an essential part of the publishing process. A good editor is the best friend an author can have.

    I have, and I have been one, as I keep saying. But reading between the lines of what you said above, they have far more input than you admit. At the end of some books the writers even often say exactly what they are thanking people for.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    (Hrmm, there seems to be a limit to what one can copy and paste.)

    Prolific and famous writers often eventually have a team working for or with them, often including a dedicated editor. It's often as they start to get older. Also as they get older, they collaborate more with other named writers, and one has to wonder if the very famous one only acted as a an advising editor, with that name prominent on the cover because it's their name that sells books. There's also the problem writers face, famous or not. One has an idea but is not sure how to develop it. If one is a famous top seller then a publisher will often give them a lot of help to progress the idea. Often with the aid of a dedicated editor.

    It's hard to know where to begin replying to such a long string of speculative generalities,

    Why do you say they are speculative? You say that a lot, when it's very easy to look up, or even see or hear in interviews, what writers and even editors say in person.


     especially when they are preceded by "I wonder if..." 

    That paragraph was not preceded by "I wonder if", but you have not answered it, so you don't know if they do or not.


    Yes, an editor can help an author develop an idea...indeed, an editor can even suggest an idea for a book...but they do not write it.

    Some do help write some, as do other writers.


     I have had this happen to me at least three times, where an editor has brought a book idea to me.

    What about the other way around?


    Second, the editor wants your book to be in your voice, not theirs.

    That can be true, but when a publisher's editor makes suggestions, that for no other reason than that in their mind will make the story more saleable, that if not taken on,  may end up with the story abandoned. Publishers are in business to make money, and they 'know best.'

    I should count how many times you use the word "may" in this post.

    So?  May can also mean, not always. A possibility.

    Yes, publishers are in business to make money...and for that reason they do not accept manuscripts that they think are not viable. That being said, yes, there are examples of books being ultimately abandoned, but they are by far the exception rather than the rule.

    But it does happen. Why not say that in the first place? 
     
    Finally, if your book required massive rewriting it probably would not have been accepted in the first place.

    Very true, unless one is already a famous writer. Maybe that explains all the Thank Yous in many frontmatters.

    "Maybe" again.

    Which does not mean Never. Don't you read the front and back pages of books? Look at some blogs?  Twitter? Watch anything on TV?

    ]What an editor at a traditional publisher will do is work with the author, making suggestions as to how the book might be made better.

    Indeed. So it sells.

    Well, of course. And, hopefully, that is also the goal of the author.

    This is an important step because the editor is totally objective and will see things that the author cannot. These might be matters relating to character development, dialog, cutting unnecessary exposition, adding background, making sure the story makes sense and is told in the best order, etc. etc. There are a thousand things.

    So basically suggesting almost everything needs to be changed? 

    Yes. If something needs to be changed, it gets mentioned. Why not? You are asking about this as if it is a bad thing.

    But you keep insisting that they don't want much changed, if anything, that it's not their job.


     But, the editor does not make any of these changes themselves. It is up to the author to do that.

    Quite so, and if they do not? ...

    Then it gets discussed. There are often alternate ways to do something or the author may convince the editor that they are right. 

    The author-editor relationship is not a confrontational one, as you seem to think.

    I don't know where you got that idea from within my text. However, it can be. As we witness on here when people ask for comments on their books. Are we not acting as editors?


     It is collaborative, especially in the sense that both are working toward the same goal, each bringing to the book their own individual expertise. The editing of a book is more of a conversation between an author and an editor than a situation where one is giving orders to another.

    Is that just from personal experience? Mine, and many other peoples', including publishers and editors is not the same.


     For one thing, as I said, the book's voice needs to be consistent. Any changes will be the way the author sees how they should be made and will be in the author's own words.

    One would hope. Or those own words could be, "I like it the way it is." I would possibly say the same myself.

    That's a phrase one hears in these forums a lot! Usually coming from authors who are so in love with their deathless prose that they absolutely cannot see where even one word might be improved. 

    Perhaps one or two take far more care over what they write? I think I, for one, spend far more time reading and reading and reading my works and tinkering with them than I do writing them! I would not say I am in love with them, though.

    Any author is free to disagree with their editor, as I said. There is often more than one way to get around a problem and the one that the author is most comfortable with is usually the course taken. I can't think of any examples where a book was ultimately abandoned because of an author's refusal to change a sentence.

    Because they want the money? I think if I was offered a few grands up front and a decent royalty, by some big publisher, I would not be too averse to changing a word or two.  :)


    Besides, if a book requires serious changes, these are discussed long before a contract is signed. 

    Indeed. Even libel lawyers read the manuscripts at times.


    In the now far-distant past when my first three novels were published, I was talking to the editor to whom I had submitted the stories. She had liked the books and had offered me a contract. She asked me, though, if I would consider changing the heroine to a hero. I asked her if publication of the books depended on me doing that. She said no, the only difference would be that they would offer me a slightly smaller advance and give the books a little less promotion since the publisher felt that a book with a female protagonist would be more difficult to market (at the time, apparently, fantasy novels with strong female leads were not quite as common as they are now). I said that I would prefer to not change the character. The editor said, OK, that's fine.

    Good for you, I would have done the same, not least because it would take far more than just changing a name, it would take an almost full rewrite, you took less money for it though.


    To soften the blow, the editor said that instead of publishing the MS as a single volume, she wanted to make a trilogy of it. This would mean three advances instead of one, so I actually came out ahead on that.

    Thick book?


     It did mean, however, doing some rewriting so that there would be natural breaks between the books, but the need to do this was also explained. And I agreed to that.

    Yes, that also happens a lot with POD nowadays due to the high cost of it. I am currently on Part Six of one of my series. If I was not using SP  POD there could no doubt be just three parts, or even less.


    The point to this story is that changes like these were discussed before a contract was signed. It was not suddenly sprung upon me after the fact. No one said, "Well, you've signed a contract and now we want you to change the gender of your protagonist and if you don't we are going to cancel the book."

    Good. What if you refused to do the rewrites so they could split it up?

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Anyway, that's enough from me. Your posting was far too long!
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    Well that conversation between Ron and Kevin was interesting - hmmmmmm!!!
  • burbette said:
    Well that conversation between Ron and Kevin was interesting - hmmmmmm!!!
    And quite enough, too. All too often trying to explain things to Kevin is like trying to herd a jellyfish with three feet of limp rope. You are never going to get anywhere at all with someone who just keeps on saying, “Yes, but what if...?”
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    And quite enough, too. All too often trying to explain things to Kevin is like trying to herd a jellyfish with three feet of limp rope. You are never going to get anywhere at all with someone who just keeps on saying, “Yes, but what if...?”

    We obviously see things from different perspectives, that are both right depending on the circumstances. I am not saying, "but what if," I am saying I know what I have personally heard, read and observed, not to mention done, whereas you keep on insisting I am wrong. I could say you are totally wrong, but I don't because you are also basing things only on what you have personally heard, read and observed, not to mention done.


    PS: Who edited the books you have on Lulu?


  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    edited October 2018
    I think Kevin's last comment is right, "We obviously see things from different perspectives," It is always valuable to have two cogent, firmly held opinions.  You are both accomplished writers, so having said that you might agree that it would be more respectful and I dare say mature, to simply state a viewpoint without throwing acid at another person's views.
  • I apologize for my testiness.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited October 2018

    The point to this story is that changes like these were discussed before a contract was signed. It was not suddenly sprung upon me after the fact. No one said, "Well, you've signed a contract and now we want you to change the gender of your protagonist and if you don't we are going to cancel the book."

    Good. What if you refused to do the rewrites so they could split it up?

    Glad that's not a what-if question.

    Just as with the requested change to the character, this was suggested before I was offered a contract. I said that I would be willing to split the book into a trilogy and my contract reflected this. If I had I agreed to do the changes and then, after the fact, decided I really didn't want to do them after all I would have been in violation of the agreement and the publisher would have been within their rights to cancel the contract and ask for the return of the advance.

    This would have been something both unethical and unprofessional of me to have done.

    If I had said that I didn't want to split the book into three volumes at the time the suggestion was made, they may have withdrawn the offer to publish the novel...though that is only speculation since I don't recall at this date for sure whether or not it was an either-or proposition. I don't think it was, however. (It would have, in the long run, been cheaper to have published the book as a single volume. The suggestion was made, as I remember, because it was thought that marketing the novel as a trilogy would be more successful.)

    To have refused to have turned the novel into a trilogy would have been a very silly thing for me to have done, of course. The changes did not alter the books in any substantial way, I received more money, more marketing and had three books published instead of one. I saw no downside.

    But both of these scenarios reflect what I have been saying all along: I would have been expected to do any rewriting and revision that needed to be done. The publisher (Berkley/Ace) did not take it upon themselves to purchase the book and then edit it to suit.

    https://spaceart.photoshelter.com/page1

    https://spaceart.photoshelter.com/page2

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    I use the word 'may' etc., in the 'polite' context of - think about it, don't just dismiss it out of hand. Just because you are not aware of some things does not mean they don't happen.
  • True... but asking what “may” happen or “what if” something occurs is not really offering any information. It belongs more in the realm of Betteridge’s Law of Headlines.

    That being said, I have no doubt but that excesses and abuses have occurred in author/editor relations...but these exceptions, by virtue of their rarity, should not sway anyone from pursuing traditional publishing, no more than the fact that 10 out of every million people die from being hit by lightning means you should never leave your house.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    edited October 2018
    I  wrote a short story, a couple of years ago, for my writing group called "What If."  lol. 
    But coming back to editors I happened to bring this topic up to my group and it generated lots of discussion.. I think many writers, like me, ask their husband or wife to be their editor. I realise editors are important, but if you self publish, it can get very expensive to use a professional editor.
  • burbette said:
    I  wrote a short story, a couple of years ago, for my writing group called "What If."  lol. 
    But coming back to editors I happened to bring this topic up to my group and it generated lots of discussion.. I think many writers, like me, ask their husband or wife to be their editor. I realise editors are important, but if you self publish, it can get very expensive to use a professional editor.
    Indeed!

    But you do get what you pay for. There have been numerous good suggestions in the forums about how to go about getting the best editing possible when it's not feasible to pay a professional. Friends and family are fine, but they are even better if one of them has any kind of relevant experience. For instance, someone may be a teacher or journalist. And speaking of teachers, you may be able to persuade a local high school English teacher into vetting your book for you (or an instructor at a college or community college, where you may be able to find someone specifically interested in creative writing or journalism). Even if you can't talk them into helping you for free, they may ask for a fee that is substantially less than a professional freelancer. Another potential source of help might be a reporter or editor at a local newspaper.

    Remember, too, that there are two basic steps to the editing process, so this is something that might be divided among different people. There is the editor who looks at the overall content and sense of the book and there is the copy editor who scrutinizes the book's grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. These are chores that could easily---and perhaps best---be undertaken by separate people.

    One of the most important things is that your editing be done by someone other than yourself.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    edited October 2018
    Thanks Ron. My husband was a journalist and is a much better writer than I am. He plays both roles for me, copy editor and editor. I took art at college and painted until a few years ago, but I don't do it anymore. I prefer to write. 
  • burbette said:
    Thanks Ron. My husband was a journalist and is a much better writer than I am. He plays both roles for me, copy editor and editor. I took art at college and painted until a few years ago, but I don't do it anymore. I prefer to write. 
    Perfect!

    (Too bad you don't still paint, though! I do both...which has worked out pretty well for me since I get to illustrate many of the books I write!)
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    True... but asking what “may” happen or “what if” something occurs is not really offering any information.

    I gave you the information, asking you to consider it, not to just more or less call it nonsense. I used may etc., rather than saying, "listen, you, this is how it often is, live with it." See, polite.

     It belongs more in the realm of Betteridge’s Law of Headlines.

    I didn't use question marks, and that 'law' is invalid anyway. "it is intended to be humorous rather than the literal truth"

    That being said, I have no doubt but that excesses and abuses have occurred in author/editor relations...but these exceptions,

    Ah, so you now say they do happen then?

    by virtue of their rarity, should not sway anyone from pursuing traditional publishing,

    No one said that it should. However, much of what I said is an asset to a writer, not a hindrance.

     no more than the fact that 10 out of every million people die from being hit by lightning means you should never leave your house.


  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    But you do get what you pay for. There have been numerous good suggestions in the forums about how to go about getting the best editing possible when it's not feasible to pay a professional.

    Indeed there has. But as you say, you get what you pay for.

    Friends and family are fine,

    'Familiarity breeds contempt,' it is said. "What? read something you wrote, you are joking! If you could write a publisher would take you on." One other problem is that not many people read books nowadays, far too many other things to fill their minds with. One other problem, even if they read, they may not like the kind of stuff one writes so have no interest in reading it.

     but they are even better if one of them has any kind of relevant experience. For instance, someone may be a teacher or journalist. And speaking of teachers, you may be able to persuade a local high school English teacher into vetting your book for you (or an instructor at a college or community college, where you may be able to find someone specifically interested in creative writing or journalism). Even if you can't talk them into helping you for free, they may ask for a fee that is substantially less than a professional freelancer. Another potential source of help might be a reporter or editor at a local newspaper.

    Will they not just be useful for checking English and grammar?  Few of those are Editors. Having said that, they can be useful, if they actually read things for pleasure.

    Remember, too, that there are two basic steps to the editing process, so this is something that might be divided among different people. There is the editor who looks at the overall content and sense of the book and there is the copy editor who scrutinizes the book's grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. These are chores that could easily---and perhaps best---be undertaken by separate people.

    Indeed.

    One of the most important things is that your editing be done by someone other than yourself.

    I do my own using the OCD method. Then again, I have been an editor. I also do my own covers.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited October 2018

    I do my own using the OCD method. Then again, I have been an editor. I also do my own covers.

    That's true! In fact, you should post your resume. In fact, we both should since I think it would add credibility to our comments.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    One of my problems, is I do not self-publicise. It's against my nature. No doubt that's a hindrance to any self-publisher, but there you go.

     Yours is already available, Ron.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Miller_(artist_and_author)

    Strange that I do not mind publicising other people.

    It's about time you had a new photo.

  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    Very interesting article about Ron in wikipedia I will check out your books Ron. 
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    edited October 2018
    Hmmmm not what I expected when I checked out Ron Miller in Lulu. I was a bit surprised with Wet Dreams and Strip Life South.
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    Oh sorry that was Don Ron Miller. Came out when I put Ron Miller into Search. Maybe both Ron and Kevin need to post their shops and resume.
  • Please don't misunderstand me. This is not about self-promotion (at least not so far as I'm concerned: I have no intention of editing anyone else's work and, as a general rule, I prefer to not work directly with authors on cover design). It's about, as I mentioned, credibility. Several of the commenters here have mentioned their life experience as a basis for the advice they have given, myself included, so I thought that it would add a layer of credibility to what we say if we were to actually show what that experience is. It has nothing to do with advertising my services since, as I said, I have nothing to sell here.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited October 2018
    Larika said:
    Oh sorry that was Don Ron Miller. Came out when I put Ron Miller into Search. Maybe both Ron and Kevin need to post their shops and resume.

    ===============================================
    Wikipedia probably has the most information https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Miller_(artist_and_author)
    But there is also my personal website http://black-cat-studios.com/

    Five of the ~60 titles on the Wiki bibliography are self-published, but most of those have since been reprinted (as it were) as ebooks by Baen Books.

    So far as my Lulu books are concerned, they can be found here http://www.black-cat-studios.com/black-cat-press/
    Most of the titles there that are under my own name are reprints of books that have been previously published traditionally and are now out of print. The bulk of the books listed are reissues of---usually---scarce and hard-to-find books relating to space travel in fiction.

    My traditionally published books---those that are currently in print---can be found on Amazon. The most recent one is Space Stations, which comes out in three days, and The Zoomable Universe and Aliens, which appeared last October.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Larika said:
    Hmmmm not what I expected when I checked out Ron Miller in Lulu. I was a bit surprised with Wet Dreams and Strip Life South.
    The problem of having a pretty common name!  :p 
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
Sign In or Register to comment.