You’ve worked months on your new book. You’ve slaved away countless hours, putting you heart and soul into the pages, into the words and characters. And now it’s time for you to put it down and send it out to an editor–possibly one you’ve never worked with before. A person, whom which you know very little, but have to trust whole heartedly will be going over your novel, your baby with a fine tooth comb. This is an intimidating process. I’m nearing this exact situation, and throughout the course of emails and phone calls to my proposed editor, I unconsciously let my insecurities show. This is what she had to say to me, not from an editor’s stand point but from a, simply, human one. Read on. If you’re a writer and sending your work out to Beta’s or editors, these are words to live by…
*note: these are her words verbatim
1. Don’t be insecure. Be proud of yourself. You are doing something that few people have the guts to do. Most people who want to be an author never pick up the pen (so to speak). Of those who do, the majority never finish, or get past the first block. So wave your freak flag and be proud.
2. There is no such thing as a bad story. Let me repeat that. There. Is. No. Such. Thing. As. A. Bad. Story. Successful authors are not born. We are all born with inherent skills, but no matter who we are, we have to hone our craft. The way that you create an excellent novel is through craft. It’s not genetics; it’s not who you know. It’s blood, sweat and tears. You can take any story out there and make it excellent. If you know your craft, you can use your toolbox to do the delicate surgery necessary to create that wonderful work of art. Okay?
3. Hear me. You are not boring me. The more you tell me about the back-story of your characters, the better. I am going to need to know your characters if I am going to help you with your work developmentally. Know that I have no intention of changing your work in any way, shape or form. However, in order for me to make recommendations, draw you out, and suggest any major mods, I will need to know more about them.
4. Be prepared for critiques. I don’t know if you have used an editor before, so please forgive me if am speaking out of turn. Many of us say, “oh, of course! Yes, that’s why I am working with you!” But deep down inside, we fear it. We are waiting for the ultimate statement of “This sucks. Your writing is horrible. Throw it away NOW!” So when we get the edits back, we don’t see the edits; what we see is what see is our internal dialogue. So, remember what an editor is there for. An editor sees the work objectively. But more than that, in content editing, the editor will push you to hone your craft. But more than that, you help me in exchange. I am a gentle editor – I’m not mean or anything. Okay?
-I’ll be honest and say that as of now, I don’t have much advice for editor hunting as I have little experience and am also relying on the advice of others. But what I can tell you, is that they should have experience and should believe in the things listed above.