Saturday, May 19, 2012

Amarok: My Publishing Journey


After my book was signed with Spencer Hill Press, a publication date was set for November. A few days later, the editing process began. There is nothing harder than seeing your manuscript marked in red. It’s like standing on the edge of a cliff and letting go, but that’s exactly what every good author must do—let go. You will be glad you did. One tip my editor, Kate Kaynak, gave me, is to accept all changes and then read the document. Once I got rid of the red, I could see she was right. My story was much tighter, and the pace quicker.

I believe that every author can improve with the use of a skilled editor or a critique group. But you need to listen and consider all suggestions. Ask yourself if it will read better, stronger with the changes.

If you are going to hire a professional, get one who is well versed in your genre. Years ago, I made the mistake of paying a very expensive editor I found in an advertisement of a writer’s magazine to help me with a YA project. The editor specialized only in Women’s fiction—not Young Adult. Although editing was very insightful, the story warped into something strange. My teenage character sounded more like fifty than fifteen. Needless to say, I learned my lesson. For major revisions, stick with a professional editors in your particular genre. You don’t have to agree with everything— but do try to keep an open mind.

Next time we’ll talk about marketing.
Stay tuned and happy writing!
Angela

10 comments:

  1. Oh I totally agree about getting an editor who knows your genre, if you go that route. When I first started out, I paid a huge sum of money to a really good editor I knew from grad school. He did help me catch some good things, like POV mistakes. But my book was a historical romance, and that wan't something he was really well versed in.

    Then I found a critique group and learned SO much more. They helped me more than that editor ever could. It doesn't matter how good the editor is if they aren't familiar with the genre you are writing. Every genre has its own rules and nuances. And the editor who works with you needs to be familiar with those genre quirks :)

    Great post :)

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  2. LOL wasn't something he was well versed in....not wan't :D

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  3. I love this series you're doing, Angie! That genre problem can happen with CP's too. I've been the CP giving weird advice on a genre I'm not familiar with (sci-fi horror) and the person asking for help from someone who just doesn't know the market. It's definitely a lot more efficient to get and give feedback in your own genre, although some crossover is helpful.

    So, question: how do you find professional editors in your genre?

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  4. I had this problem with the first regular critique group I joined--they were great people, good writers, but every comment was prefaced by "I don't read kids' books, but . . ." and it got really frustrating. They were able to help me with mechanics like commas and such, but finding my crit group through SCBWI was a much better fit.

    And that was going to be my suggestion to Katrina: most conferences these days, SCBWI or RWA or whichever, will have pro editors on their panels or presenting a workshop. Even if you're not attending the conference, you can find lots of names to do further research on.

    Personal recommendations are useful too--most of my crit group has used Teen Eyes Editorial and Kate Coursey's insights were really helpful (and reasonably priced).

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  5. Thanks for sharing your tips :-)

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  6. Great point about knowing your genre. I was part of a general critique group that met at a public library which helped me learn the basics of giving and receiving feedback, but no one there wrote YA. I've since joined SCBWI and connected with some authors who write YA and their feedback has been incredibly helpful. YA is a specific audience, not just a genre of a books with teenagers in it like some people might think.

    Similarly, I don't feel equipped to critique much on middle grade because I don't have enough background reading it and knowing what's appropriate for it. I can guess, but I usually keep those comments a little more general.

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  7. I have a problem with science fiction, even in the genre I write in, ya. I just find it dull and tasteless, so I let others in my critique group who are into that, critique for those in question. I don't know why I have a problem in that area, it isn't as though I haven't encountered it before, it just doesn't appeal to me for some reason and rather than bring the author down, I refrain from an opinion on it.

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  8. Angela,thanks for the good advice.

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  9. Very happy for you Angie--can't wait for the book to come out! :)

    Angela

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