//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” target=”_blank”>Angela James @angelajames 18m18 minutes ago 9/3/15
It’s pretty apropos to read something like this from the editorial director of Harlequin’s Carina Press just as I’m ready to blog about WHY WRITERS NEED EDITORS.
I am SO sick of reading unedited books. I’m sick of the arrogance of writers who think their writing is so good they don’t need to be edited. Or proofread for that matter. In fact, many of them don’t believe in using the spell check/grammar check programs included with their word processing program.
Whoever said it’s important to know what you don’t know could have added that it’s important to see what you can’t see. For a writer, that’s an editor’s job.
I am one of those arrogant writers who has self-published a few novels in the past few years and I might publish a few more in the future. I didn’t pay an editor to edit any of them. I can tell a pretty good story without an editor and these particular books weren’t going to sell to a publishing house anyway, so I didn’t want to invest too much money in them. But I did proofread them. They are cohesive stories that make sense. Except now I wonder how much better they could have been if they’d been professionally edited.
Earlier this month my sixth book (Fantasy Man) with Samhain Publishing release. It is the third book of mine edited by Noah Chinn. It is probably also the most he has had to edit one of my books.
Fantasy Man was one of my “manuscripts under the bed.” I’d started it early in my writing quest and for years I kept pulling it out and working on it. I’d originally submitted Fantasy Man to Noah along with another book (Nobody’s Fool 2/15) and he turned it down. He outlined his objections to it. He didn’t ask me to revise and resubmit, but I could see he was right. So I revised it on my own and asked if he wanted to take another look. Reluctantly, (I think) he said he’d look at the revised synopsis. On the strength of that as I recall, he offered a contract. We both learned a lesson from this experience.
When Noah started first round edits, I started getting emails from him. Although I thought I’d “fixed” most of the manuscript’s problems, apparently what I did was create more. Noah was giving me a heads up. We had a lot of work still ahead. By the time I got the first round edits back I had nine pages of notes lifted from our emails. I was not prepared for how much editing and revision was needed. I don’t think Noah was either.
For two weeks I did nothing but go back and forth from the manuscript to my notes while I spent every spare moment working on this book. Then I just couldn’t look at it any more. I didn’t know where to go even though I knew there was still work to be done. Back it went to Noah.
We both learned something. Noah learned to be a bit more careful when accepting an old manuscript from an established author. I learned I shouldn’t be publishing ANYTHING that isn’t professionally edited. Not if I want it to be the best that it can be, that is.