Teri (qnotku) wrote,

Editor Gripes, Take 1

An author told me the other day that she'd been advised by another author to only accept 10% of an editor's corrections. If she accepted more, the second author advised, then the editor would be "changing the author's voice."

I had to literally remove my hands from the keyboard so I wouldn't type something extremely profane to the IM chat we were having. If we'd been talking on the phone instead of online, I'd have lost my voice from screaming imprecations. When I had myself back under control I asked the author (who is one of mine, btw) what she thought about that. She said that it had worried her a lot. The moron who gave her this wretched piece of advice was a well-known erotica author. My author didn't want to reveal whom -- I guess she was getting the idea that I was pretty upset by that time. She did admit this author had never been published anywhere but electronically. (Color me not surprised.)
EDIT: My snide comment about only being electronically published was a bad one. There are a great many very fine writers out there who're only e-pubbed and my comment denigrated them and the legitimate electronic publishers out there that also put out quality books. Mea culpa and fifty lashes with a wet fettucine noodle.

My author finally admitted that she'd talked about it to her husband who'd thought the advice was nuts. (Note to self: send author's husband a sixpack and thank you card) Her hubby is a technical writer and he told her that it didn't matter -- non-fiction or fiction, editors were absolutely necessary to make sure that only clean copy got seen by the public. My author and I talked awhile longer about her book and the editing we worked on together and how we both were happy with the final outcome of our teamwork. Then we said bye and signed off.

I've been thinking a lot about this conversation. I belong to a great many writer loops. Going back over some of the threads from the past six months, it really struck me just how many posts referred to an author "fighting" with her editor because the editor wanted changes the author didn't want to make.

Now, I'm not saying an author should make every change an editor wants. C'mon kids -- use your common sense! If the change isn't good for the book, it isn't good for the book and the author needs to talk to the editor calmly and clearly. If you don't explain why it's important to you that something shouldn't be changed or corrected then your editor really really needs to know. It's your story, you know your characters and background info and you know (if it's a serial) what's coming up. All your editor knows is what's on the pages you submitted for publication. If your editor is confused, you can damn well bet your readers will be too. A good editor will back down and, after discussion, allow the author to veto various corrections.


Yes, indeedy, a great big honking, in your face BUT.

Read my lips: it ISN'T changing your literary "voice" to accept grammatical, spelling, and punctuational corrections. It damn well isn't changing your "voice" to be asked to fix continuity errors. These corrections are NECESSARY -- mainly so readers and reviewers don't rip you a new arse-hole for putting out a product riddled with errors. I've been seeing a lot of reviews of (mainly) electronic novels lately where the reviewers castigate the editors for allowing a book to go out with many, many errors. And I always wonder if that poor editor had to endure an electronic Diva who refused to make fixes because - *shudder* *gasp* *swoon* -- it would "change her voice."

Free advice of the day: Your editor is NOT your enemy. Your editor's your right hand, your team-mate, the person who's there to help you hit a literary home-run, as it were. Your success is your editor's success too, you know. Your editor wants your book to be a best-seller as badly as you do. You make money, she makes money and the publisher makes money. It's a win-win situation all the way around. You can accept this fact of life. Or you can expect to be mediocre for the rest of your writing life. *shrugs* It's your call.

In other news of the day, my pirate name is:

Your Pirate Name Is...

Iron Fanny La Bouche

jmward14, you can quit laughing now. Or else I'm gonna hafta hurt you.

Peace all,
Tags: editor gripes
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