As an Indi author I believe in quality and perfection of publication. With this in mind when I complete a novel or novella I send it to my editor to make sure I have no holes in my plot, my characters are consistent and no action is out of place. I also rely on my editor to make sure all words are spelled correctly. I pay good money to have this done.
My first major project has been Christmas Pets & Kisses 1 (CP&K 1). I wrote the novella in the Romance in a Month class founded by author Rachelle Ayala. Not to miss the deadline I wrote An Impossible Rescue in two weeks and handed it over to my editor after Rachelle Ayala read it. On and off I participate in her class where we write a romance in one month. I was glad she asked to read it, she even wrote a quote for the book cover.
Hear ye, hear ye, be it known to all corners of the kingdom, I Annamaria Bazzi am the worst speller in the english speaking world. Why, I still remember my high school teacher giving up on my spelling and grammar saying, “Don’t worry, you have your sister who can correct your work just never stop writing.” I still have her words written in my senior year book. Well, my sister has a carrier and family of her own and can’t be my editor. I did the next best thing, I asked for recommendations from all my author friends.
I have an editor, I believed I had a good editor, but….
I never meant to stake any one with a steak. I misspelled the juicy meat in a few places and the editor didn’t catch it nor did the line editor. The worst misspelling I can’t even bring myself to say… so here’s what GrammaMost had to say about her four star review of the box set Christmas Pets and Kisses:
‘Generally nice stories. I liked the incorporation of pets as family. But I had issues with misspellings, grammar & punctuation comma. Enough that it did irritate me throughout several stories. Especially when the word bowel was substituted for bowl. That’s merely one example. Other than those annoyances, I enjoyed the stories.’
Because I had already found stakes through out my novella, I immediately became suspicious and checked my story. Sure enough it is mine. Who in the blazing world wants to put food in bowel… purely revolting.
My youngest daughter finished reading it a few nights ago. She’s like me, not very good with spelling but she told me she found a sentence that was absolutely grammatically wrong.
My reputation as a serious writer has been tainted. I’m suffering knowing more than eight thousand people have read it… I’ve been discredited as a serious author. Will people ever want to ready my novels again?
My question now becomes how do you really find a good editor? Have I made a good choice? What should an author be looking for? These are hard question to answer because every individual is different. I can only speak of myself, who likes an editor that gets involved with more so than just correcting a manuscript.
Here is how I settled on this particular editor that came highly recommended by other authors.
I was told:
- The editor assigned to the author reads the novel. I was guaranteed the same editor for as long as the relationship works and I would be learning and advancing in my writing skills.
- If a word is repeated too many times he/she highlights. Very appealing to me for making the proper changes.
- If the characters aren’t strong or display inconsistent characteristics it’s marked with suggestions and possible directions. Yes this is the core job of the editor, but I was made to understand I could go back and forth discussing the possible directions suggested.
- When the editor receives the manuscript with all changes made the editor goes through looking for plot holes and other things that might be wrong, inconsistent or missed on previous passes.
- When done, the manuscript goes to a line editor.
Sometimes it takes three passes through the manuscript and other times more and I always have the opportunity to ask question, direction or discuss anything in the novel I might have concerns about. I’d been quite satisfied understanding that even the best of editors can miss something, especially as they get personal with the story.
I liked the idea these editors took the time to really comb through the novels while all other editors on my list took the manuscript, made all the corrections, gave all suggestions in one pass, and once they returned the novel they were done. I might have passed on some talented editors, but building a relationship with my editor was and still is very important to me. With the other editors I felt that making the money was the most important thing to them. With the editor I went with, I originally got the impression they look to build relationships with their customers a far more appealing working environment for me.
Has my Sicilian hot temper gotten the best of me once more? Being a poor speller puts me at a disadvantage because I can’t read through my manuscripts and find the misspelled words. One of my wonderful beta readers finds many things in my manuscripts before I send them to the editor, but I guess I need to work hard and find a few more good beta readers willing to help me out.
Do I jump ship? Should I start the process of finding another editor? From what I’ve gathered from all the authors I’ve consulted, it seems my problem is universal, even authors with the big traditional publishing companies suffer from this chaotic disease.
I’ve made one important decision, give them another chance.