I took a big step in my writing journey recently. I made the decision to hire an editor.
I spent so much time on my book, Dying for Dragons, going over and over it, sending it to critique partners, changing the beginning, rewriting certain scenes, and so on, then periodically sending it out to agents and the like.
Occasionally I received good feedback, like “Interesting concept, but not for us,” or “Good writing, but not a good fit for us,” or something along those lines, but more often than not, in my mailbox, (virtual or otherwise) received nothing more than a standard form letter, informing me that my manuscript was rejected.
And so I got to the point where I really just didn’t know what I was doing wrong, or how to fix it. I knew I needed professional help.
Hiding somewhere in my list of writery Facebook friends lurked an editor. I began the process of mild cyber-stalking, emailing him, checking out his comments on other posts, particularly where he critiqued writing samples (he’s harsh, but very good), comparing rates, and talking to his current clients.
What I found was that I really enjoyed him, on a personal level. There are dozens of fantastic editors out there, and I’m sure any number of them would do a fine job of helping me to improve my manuscript, but the more I talked to this particular one, the more I felt like he would be a fun person to work with, which is important in an ongoing professional relationship.
So I began talking to him about what I was working on and what I was looking for. Long before I actually paid the poor fellow I started refering to him as “my editor” and telling people “my editor says this or that” and so on.
Granted, I have yet to see what kinds of horrible things he has to say about my writing, but at the moment I’m very happy with my choice. And so I wait, having paid the down payment and scheduled the remainder of the fee, for him to send me back my work, smeared with bright red ink, so I can fix it.
I’m very excited about getting started. I’m not afraid of hard work, and I’m committed to seeing this writing thing through. And one day, when I’m a rich and famous novelist, I may even give my editor some of the credit for helping me to get that far.
In the meantime, as I wait to begin the next editing phase of Dragons, I am working on finishing the story I began during NaNoWriMo, currently titled Prophecy, and I am going to be working on some short stories. I have one that I hope to submit to The Cross and the Cosmos in the near future, and I have been approached about another writing opportunity, about which I am super excited. I can’t say much more at this point, but I’ll let you know when something comes of that.
My dearest Avily,
I’ll be praying for you.
I looked at editors… that’s actually when I had my first run in with Jeff. I had an editor look at a sample of my work and Jeff was one of the ones the sample was rerouted to. It was tempting… but financially just not viable… We live on one income, my Husband’s. If I brought in some income of my own, I might have considered it more seriously, but until we are at least out of the debts we incurred before he got what my Mother would call a “real job”, I just can’t rationalize much monetary investment in my writing. One day I hope I can, and even attend the Conferences that look like so much fun (and growth)…
But I look forward to watching what happens with your book and editor, Avily.
I too am looking at doing some short stories, but have my own struggles. Part of me really wants to dive into Hall’s sequel, The Dragon’s City. I do have one short story that I am supposed to be revising and sending back to a publisher though… Good luck with yours at the Cross & Cosmos.
I know exactly what you mean about the financial difficulty! I got a job for the first time since my first son was born 7 1/2 years ago last fall, mainly to help make ends meet. Without that, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Working outside the home has been an incredible strain on me, but I’m very glad to have the ability to invest some in my writing.
Ooo, scary and exciting! Paying someone to treat you badly. hehe!
Here’s hoping the pain is worth it!