MarketingtheMuse offers this new series titled SHOW DON’T TELL to help writers select the right editor.
‘How do I find the right editor?’ is a question I’m asked a lot. Truthfully, there is no one answer. In my experience helping writers with their manuscripts, almost every writer I’ve worked with has met me through workshops or speaking engagements so they know something about me. While that helps, it doesn’t show my editing skills, does it?
More than ever, authors need editors. Why? The independent and entrepreneurial publishing movement doesn’t have access to stables of editors who page through author manuscripts with their fine tooth editing combs, that is, after they take you on.
If you are going to publish-even if you hope to go through traditional channels – your manuscript better be filled with polished prose from beginning to end. To reference Bill Clinton, all you have to do is the ‘math’ to understand that traditional publishing is challenged. In my humble, authors that traditional publishers take on fit one of two profiles: their story-telling prose pops off the page or they offer a big name/platform.
I’ve only hired private editors twice and each experience was a good one but I had an advantage. I’m a freelancer so over many years, I’ve worked with many editors and can usually identify the good from the not so good. Most writers don’t have this experience. So who do you trust?
In the upcoming SHOW DON”T TELL Series here at MarketingtheMuse, I will share with writers the experience I am going through right now with my new editor, Tiffany Yates Martin. My novel, which she is now editing, has already been critiqued in an online critique group I joined about 9 months ago. I was looking for the right editor when I found her via Publisher’s Weekly.
Tiffany hails from Austin Texas and her company is FoxPrint Editorial. I made contact after she added her two cents to a comment I posted on P.W. about a polarizing subject in publishing. Her opinion aligned with mine, which I took as a good sign. When I went to her website, I was delighted to read her credentials and testimonials from published authors who specified why they liked working with her. More good news.
Then I read this on her website under ‘Contact’ …Send a brief synopsis of your completed manuscript in standard submission format…..and the total word count…along with five to ten sample pages to help me make sure FoxPrint Editorial is a good fit for your manuscript. I’ll respond promptly with scheduling and a rate proposal.…..I am happy to provide a sample edit of up to 1,000 words.
Now, I’m used to editors specifying what they want to read in order to determine if they want to work with me. But when an editor invites me to ‘interview’ them, a la I am happy to provide a sample edit of up to 1,000 words...this impressed me. More good news.
I emailed the first 5 pages and within days, she sent back the kind of edits that told me this editor has the editing chops needed to polish my novel. Her eagle editor’s eye identified the hook-able portions in the first five pages and made them pop by cutting away the flab. This free edit showed me what she could do and in this business of show don’t tell, she sold me by showing her skill level.
We’ve decided to bring MarketingtheMuse followers along on our editing journey to show you what editing your manuscript looks like, up close & personal. The author/editor relationship is intimate. Frank honesty is required. In the beginning, we’re all in love. The goal is to keep that good feeling going throughout the process. Editors often must deliver ‘tough love’. The more you know about your editor, the more ‘tough love’ you’ll be able to hear simply because you respect their skill set. My editor demonstrated her editing skills early on and that’s why I’m so glad she agreed to take my project on.
In the next installment of SHOW DON”T TELL, I will post:
The first 5 pages of my novel -before edits
Tiffany’s edits and notes
The final 5 pages – post editing.
When video & webinar can add to our discussion, we will do that, too.
Editing is an organic process that we will demonstrate to you so that when you do look for ‘the right editor’ you’ll have more tools in your tool box to assess overall compatibility. As always, I’d love to know if sharing my process benefits yours.