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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Editorial Letter - Friend or Foe?

While waiting for my much anticipated first editing letter, I stalked the depths of the internet to hunt down every bit of info I could find about what I should expect. The results were somewhat nerve-wracking. I read a few editing letter horror stories that had me positive that I'd receive a 200+ page editorial letter, my manuscript would be scribbled over with a thick endless red line, the package would be sent to me in caution tape, and I'd have a three hour and twelve minute deadline to complete my rewrites. Yes, I have an overactive imagination... after all, I'm a writer. The point is, I worried myself silly... for nothing.

My editorial letter turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I received a two and a half page (helpful) letter, plus (more helpful) write ups within the text of my manuscript accompanying the letter. The process was fascinating - from finding out what my editor liked and what she thought could be stronger, to brainstorming how I should assimilate her suggestions within my storyline, to the nose to the grindstone rewrites - I enjoyed the whole collaborative process. This was a stark contrast from the editing horror stories I read, and (I think) much closer to what most writers experience with their first editing letters. Don't get me wrong, revisions are not devoid of hard work. Before my first round edits were complete, I had adjusted some plot points, rewrote a scene or two, tweaked a character, deleted portions of text, and changed dialogue here and there. The finished product was a polished version of my original manuscript - a stronger story! And who doesn't want that?

So, to those debut authors chewing your fingernails to nubs while waiting for your first editing letters (I feel your pain), I'd like to remind you that your editor would not have acquired your manuscript if he/she didn't like it and wanted to change everything about it. Your editor is invested in you and your book, and he/she wants to see both succeed. The suggestions in your editorial letter are meant to help your book succeed, not to give you sweat drenched nightmares. It's a constructive, invaluable process that will teach you so much. So, absorb the experience positively as one that will heighten your writing, and know that you have a talented editor in your corner. And please, don't hide from your letter behind a stack of Brawny paper towel rolls. Your editorial letter won't bite, I promise.

In closing, to answer the question of this blog post title - friend or foe? I vote friend...

Please come back for my future posts chronicling my take on the publishing process.

*Best Wishes & Lipstick Kisses*

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Blogger Jen said...

I'm glad that it didn't result in a nightmare! It's nice to hear positive experiences! I myself am not in that part of the game, right now I am just getting the novel on paper, and it feels great!!!

Look forwad to hearing more about the publishing process!

February 2, 2010 at 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have some of the same worries. As a debut novelist, I'm still waiting for things to happen. But once they do, I hope the steps of the process won't be as scary as I thought they would be.

February 2, 2010 at 8:14 PM  
Blogger Amy Holder said...

Thanks for the comments! I think it's helpful to have positive stories out there about the editing process.

Jen - good luck with your novel! I've read some of your writing and think you're great! Your talent and determination will go a long way.

Medeia - Thanks for following my blog! I'm sure all writers imagine the process to be more intimidating than it actually is. I look forward to reading about your experience on your blog!

February 2, 2010 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger Kathy McCullough said...

Thank you SO much for this post. I feel like I should print it out and just reread it every day while I wait for my letter. I hope hope hope I have a similar experience. But your comment about how the editor wants you both to succeed is the thing I'm going to keep telling myself.


February 2, 2010 at 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good dispatch and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you as your information.

February 3, 2010 at 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post on editing letters. I'm hoping to be published and like to be able to read about the process.

February 3, 2010 at 12:29 AM  
Blogger Amy Holder said...

Thanks for the comments!

Kathy - yes, repeat that sentence to yourself every day before you get your letter. And don't make my mistake by tracking down all the horror stories. I'm sure your experience will be positive. I can't wait to read Delaney Collins, F.G.!

February 3, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

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