Today we have a guest blog from Natalie Damschroder, read on to hear praise be given where praise is most definitely due!
Most authors include profuse thanks to their editors in their acknowledgements at the beginning or end of each book. But I wonder how many readers (and unpublished authors) really understand how important the editor is, and how much they influence the book?
I thought this might be a good opportunity to publicly thank my two no-word-superlative-enough editors and give some insight into the “process.”
I work with Elizabeth Bass at Carina Press and Kerri-Leigh Grady and Liz Pelletier at Entangled Publishing, and I am so. freaking. lucky. to have three people who really get what I’m trying to do and are willing to work extensively with me to make sure I get it right. This is my love letter to them.
The first thing readers might not think about is how many times the editor has to read the book. They read it when it’s submitted, then again after they offer the contract. They write a letter (sometimes a really, really LONG letter LOL) detailing all the weaknesses they see and offering suggestions for how to improve them.
After reading the letter, cursing and crying, and wondering why the editor bought the book when the author obviously sucks, said author then contacts her editor and says how brilliant she is. There is usually some discussion about how to approach some of the suggestions. A good editor gives the author ideas for fixing what seems to be wrong, but allows the author to find her own way—yet doesn’t hesitate to tell her she’s being stupid. (Usually not in so many words.)
The author makes the revisions and submits the book. The editor reads it again. If the author did a good job, the editor now does line edits, which is more specific changes for improvement. They point out discrepancies and repetitions and harp on little things that obsess them. The author responds, either accepting the changes as is, making a passionate defense for why that’s the only word that really works in that spot, or editing to address the problem in a different way, perhaps one more suited to her voice.
Then the editor reads it again. Then it goes to the copyeditor. And the editor reads it again.
Can you imagine reading a book that many times in about a two-month span? I wouldn’t even want to read one of my favorites that many times!
Every author has strengths and weaknesses in their writing. When we’re matched up with an editor who appreciates both, it can be magic. For my most recent release, Acceptable Risks, my editor helped me make the romantic conflict more powerful. She told me the ending was stupid in a very polite way, and sparked a more interesting one in my imagination. And she supported me when the copyeditor attacked my Laundromats.
Once a book is through production, an author might not talk to their editor for a while. But they’re always there, the first responder to any emergency, the author’s in-house advocate or conduit for information, and the one person who can directly understand the joy of something like this:
“Nonstop action, pulse-elevating romance and a fast pace keep this book flowing smoothly. Damschroder definitely knows how to write one sexy, saucy, exhilarating tale.”—Diane Morasco for RT Book Reviews about Acceptable Risks.
When security expert Jason Templeton’s team is ambushed while protecting a weapons manufacturer vital to U.S. interests, he risks his life to save the man’s daughter…and loses. Unbeknownst to Jason, his mentor had been funding experimental medical procedures after losing his young wife. Using the untested drugs, Jason is brought back to life, stronger and faster than before, but also vulnerable in new ways. He’s determined to find the traitor in their midst, who is after the miracle drug.
That means protecting the brilliant scientist Lark Madrassa. Their attraction and compatibility are undeniable, but Jason tries to deny his growing feelings for her, thinking he is too damaged. When Lark’s father is kidnapped they have to rely on each other in a dangerous plot to uncover the double agent. Before, Jason always accepted the risks–but what about when the life of the woman he loves is on the line?
Natalie is also awesome enough to be hosting a giveaway for a randomly selected commenter of:
“Winner’s choice of a digital copy of Fight or Flight, Behind the Scenes, or Acceptable Risks”