A sure-fire way to sabotage your editor

Posted by on Jan 24, 2018

It’s helpful when you send me a manuscript along with a note that details areas you struggled with. Concerns you have about how readers may receive a character’s decision. A GMC listing for each character.

It’s even useful to know you are shooting for, say, a May release.

But when the manuscript arrives with a specific deadline less than a month into the future? That puts me under the gun to make sure you can hit that mark, and consequently, I catch myself saying, “Nah, I won’t mention that. It’s too much to pile on. She only has ten days to turn these edits around, after all.”

Now flash forward three weeks. You, the author, just received an invoice from CEOEditor, Inc. Wouldn’t you like to know that you are paying for the most thorough job possible with your hard-earned money? Shouldn’t you have the option to say, “I won’t change my side character’s profession” rather than not know it is a potential problem until the reviewers seize the opportunity to inform you in front of God and everyone?

I’ve learned my lesson. Earlier this month, I erased a comment in my author letter about the hero’s nickname for the heroine. It was an abbreviation of her name, Myra, but “My” tripped me up 80 percent of the time because I read it as a pronoun.

And then I hit control-Z to undo the erase action. Followed by control-Z to remove it again. And control-Z again. Sure, that’s zzz, but the results were the opposite. The author took the advice, came up with a new nickname and backstory for her heroine, and a reader review at Amazon actually gushed about how much she loved “Supergirl.”

So you have my promise that I won’t hold back on what I’m consciously aware that I caught, even if you are supposed to have this manuscript moved along by the weekend. But I can’t swear that my deeper subconscious isn’t at work, suppressing my analysis in favor of “hurry up, hurry up. There’s a cover for this book and the printer is waiting. Gotta streamline. Gotta let that go.”

Do yourself a solid and schedule your print date after you read through the first round of edits. It’s the most frugal decision you can make in an industry that comes with invoices around every corner.

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