This process is always dear to my heart, but it’s a bit more relevant for me this week. I just finished the first round of edits on an awesome memoir that will be coming out later this year, and the marked up manuscript is now in the author’s hands. I was a bit nervous sending it back to him because, quite frankly, he’s a first timer, and I was afraid he’d freak out when he saw how many changes there were. I didn’t rewrite the book or anything, but there were a lot of little things, and a couple of big things, too.
One suggestion that was of particular concern was that several very short chapters be combined into longer chapters in multiple places. I was expecting resistance on this one, but I was (and still am, if it comes down to it) prepared to fight for this one. “If you have trouble, or if this suggestion absolutely horrifies you,” I said in my cover letter, “let me know.”
So yeah, there were a lot of changes. But it’s an amazing book, and needing edits doesn’t make it any less awesome. I might even embrace the cliche and call it life changing. I love it. I’m proud to be associated with it. There were several parts I had to read over and over because I kept getting wrapped up in the story and forgot I was supposed to be editing instead of just reading.
The thing is, as Haynes alluded to in his post, a lot of authors panic when they get back “fourteen pages of notes and comments” from their respective editors. It shakes their confidence. They think that because there are changes required, the book must suck, and they must be terrible writers. That’s not the case. Well, okay, scratch that–sometimes, it’s the case. But not always.
The editor’s job is to make good things even better, and to keep you from getting in your story’s way. Your editor is drawing out the best parts of your story and helping you to better support them. So when you get those notes and changes back from any editor, remember that this is now the exciting part of the process. This is the part where your manuscript really starts turning into a book. Celebrate.
Finalist in 2006 Writer’s Digest Best Writer’s Website Contest
Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King