ADAMS POSTHello, all! The lovely Lost Wanderer asked if I'd like to do a guest post on this 'ere blog. Pfft, silly question! First, a little about me: My name is Adam Slade, and I'm an author of predominantly fantasy fiction, often with a humorous bent. I have been known to stray into other genres, but fantasy is where my heart is. My first published book, "A Reaper's Tale: The Undecided" will be out at the end of May. I'll come back to this a little later. I also have a writing blog entitled "Editing Hat" and a new serial blog entitled "Gumshoe Casefiles" that I created for a bit of humour-writing practise. Go take a look, you might like it. ;-) So, the main topic of this post is my experiences with professional editing; I.E. working with an editor. While I'm new to it myself (this is my first pubbed book), I'm happy to talk about my experiences so far. First up, I'll go through the steps that came after I received my acceptance email and signed my contracts (read 'em carefully, folks!). Shortly after I'd stopped running in tight circles squealing like an overexcited toddler (this process took a couple of days), I was sent a "Welcome Pack" which contained details of how Lyrical works (house rules, contact details for various departments etc), and requests for some contact details. A little while after this, I was assigned to an editor. The way Lyrical works is that a bunch of editors read each approved submission and then decide who gets to work on it. I like to think that they all loved my book and fought like rabid animals to get the opportunity to work with it. What? I can dream! So, the fabulous Cynthis Brayden-Thomas emailed me announcing that she would be my editor, and attached a couple more files for me to peruse. The first was a form asking for details about cover art, blurb, taglines and the like, and the second was a check-list. This check-list detailed all the common errors encountered in manuscripts (excessive adverbs, head hops, ) and some info about house style rules. Cyn gave me a deadline for getting them complete, and I got crackin'. Note - Not all publishers do the "pre edit" thing. Lyrical do, and their reasons make perfect sense; why make an editor do what you should have done before submitting? Thankfully, I'd done most of the things on the check-list before submitting (*cough*), so I had the manuscript (MS from here on in) back to Cyn in plenty of time so she could begin on the scariest part of the whole "book making" process... Revisions! Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuun!!! Well they worried me, anyway. Waiting for the first set of revisions was akin to... um... having a plaster you had to rip off a particularly hairy place... but you couldn't rip it off until you got an email from your copy editor. Ok, that didn't work. Lemme give it another go. It's like waiting for a train... a train containing ninjas... Damnit. Alright, I give up. Waiting for the revisions is almost as bad as receiving the email containing them. (Ooh, I'm finally up to the part LW wanted me to talk about, and it's only taken me a few hundred words and a handful of bad jokes.) 'Nother note - There is a fairly common misconception that an editor is there to "fix" everything, from spelling, to grammar, to gaping plot holes. This is not the case. First of all, if you submit a MS full of spelling and grammar errors, it won't be accepted in the first place; publishers and editors are busy bunnies, and don't have time to fix what you should have fixed before you submitted. Secondly, if the editor did sort all the mistakes themselves, the changes wouldn't be in your voice and you wouldn't learn to pay attention to similar issues in the future. So, revisions. In my case, they were very easy to follow and understand. They went a little something like this:
- Minor changes like word substitutions were made using "Track Changes,"* so it was a case of reviewing each and clicking accept or reject. In my case there were quite a few, as I had to go from UK spellings to US
- Larger changes were in "Notes"* at the side of the MS. Most of the larger changes were along the lines of "I don't think this works, for this reason. How about you try this?"
- In the case of the changes I didn't agree with, I added a note under Cyn's note and moved on. I believe that, by the end of the revision there were no more than 2 or 3 of those.