E is for editing. I love writing most days. I’m not sure I have ever had a day that I’ve loved editing. Most of us look at our stories as our children and who wants to chop them to bits? Of course, editing is very important. Nothing I write would be half as good without editing. For me it’s a threefold process. I do my own editing but let’s be honest, I am often blind to my own mistakes. Seriously, I have no idea how I miss some of the things I do. Then again, I’m often shocked how much I miss coupled with my beta readers and the actual editors and I’m on like edit three and there is some huge clunker that slid by all of us.
If I’m the first fold, my beta readers are the second. I’ve been lucky to have a few good betas willing to put up with me. It would be nice to have a few more but finding a beta is almost as hard as finding a publisher. And fold number three would be those publishing house editors. I’ve been very lucky with my editors at the houses I’ve worked at. They’ve been tough but fair. Only once did I really feel like there was a serious disconnect between me and my editor (It was on a third draft which is usually just little bit of clean up and this new editor seemed to hate everything about that novella).
That is one thing about traditional publishing. You get an editor. You’re not hanging out there on your own. However, if you are, my advice, find a beta reader or join a local writers group (yes I know this can be fraught with danger. A bad group will damage you in ways you might not even see at first.) I’ve joined a lot of newsletters lately between insta-freebie and other giveaways that trade a story for signing up for the newsletter with an eye to future sales. (Another thing fraught with danger as I’ve more books than I could possibly read at this point).
I can’t even tell you how many self-pubbers I’ve seen saying in their newsletters ‘well I couldn’t afford an editor so I didn’t bother editing it and now all my reviews are whining about this novel needing editing.’ Honestly if you put that in your newsletter, I’m probably going to delete your freebie. (I mean, seriously even if it’s true you probably shouldn’t advertise that!) I’ve seen a variety of variations on this theme and it all traces back to not bothering with editing in the first place.
The other thing I’ve seen lately within these newsletters, people coming out with a new book every few weeks. I write. I’ve been writing for nearly 40 years. I know I personally can’t turn out quality work in just a few weeks. I might be able to write something in that time, witness nanowrimo but I would never send it out there that fast. I’m not sure I believe someone can write something in just a couple of weeks, get it edited and refined and out to us in the time frame I’m seeing with some of these. It’s made me hesitant to read anything by them.
But maybe that’s just me. I might not like editing but I know its value. If I’m putting it out there, it has been edited.