Original Post Date March 13, 2013 at 12:12 AM
The path to a concise published work is angled in many places. Collaboration and cooperation with a professional works the kinks out. We explore the advantages of editing.
Yesterday was my first meeting with Trace Taylor Publishing since I turned in my manuscript for editing. I had the expected nerves. After all, this was my first attempt at non-academic, non-technical writing and I really had minimal certainty that I did a proper job of it.
I pulled out my notebook and pen and prepared to take notes. I was ready to receive her input and learn from her critique. She seemed thrown by my enthusiasm.
Trace mentioned her experiences working with authors who were defensive or straight up distraught after having their works edited. Tissues had to sop up tears on occasions. I couldn’t understand why. Like I told Trace, what am I paying you for? Gold stars? Smiley faces? We had a good laugh about it.
Eventually we deviated towards a general conversation about expectations from both ends. I thought I’d note the top takeaways from our talk here:
Axiom 1: Everyone needs editing
Borrowing from a popular children’s book describing the natural processes of the human body, everybody poops. It has a distinct smell. There are people we know that will insist their poop doesn’t smell. But we all know the truth.
It is the editor’s job to present a work for publication that resonates with the intended audience. An author may use graduate level vocabulary in a book intended for preschoolers. Another author may spend a hundred pages describing how the light hits a coffee mug in the middle of a table in a book intended for fans of fast paced action fiction. We authors can’t tell when we stink. A good editor does that gracefully. A good editor reminds you, yes, even your poop smells.
Axiom 2: Critiques are not criticisms
Before you click on the comment balloon, I’m talking contextually here. A critique is an evaluation of a literary work. It is meant to be objective with the intent of adding value to the development of the work.
Criticism, which I use here contextually to describe abject judgment and faultfinding, is subjective in nature and is intended to degrade or insult the merits of the literary artist.
A good editor is going to support your dreams by ensuring your work can stand alongside other literary works in Amazon and Barnes & Nobles. They are not out to get you. They get you; they’re just offering insight that will enhance the readers’ experience. Which brings me to Axiom 3.
Axiom 3: Your publisher knows your audience. Better than you do.
We have an idea of who’s going to read this work as we’re clickclickclacking away, creating the most sublime work known to man. A good publisher is well informed as to what readers look forward to experiencing. While you have a clue, your publisher has several clues. So if they suggest something, don’t take it as an affront to your epic opus. They’re on to something. Get over yourself, and cooperate. It’s only going to benefit you.