As you know, we, in some extraordinary foresight, took a hiatus for 2020 to work on growing the number of readers for our authors. During that time period, Dave, my partner in crime, finished his MBA. Between the two of us we now have 5 hard-earned degrees, in addition to over 50 years combined experience in editing, publishing, and nurturing creative writing.
I can tell you that Dave worked extremely diligently on his degree, usually every weekend and two-three nights each week. He was top of his class, and he learned a lot about how to market, something every author needs to take a look at in addition to any publisher the writer may work with.
This is all part of our commitment to be the best choice for your publisher, and the best choice for your bookshelf.
Congratulations Dave; I could not do this without you, and thank you for sharing the dream, and working so hard and consistently to fulfill it.
Dianne and I just completed our sixth anthology, entitled WHAT SORT OF FUCKERY IS THIS?It was a long project, easily the longest project (both in terms of book length and number of contributors) we’d undertaken in our fledgling publishing endeavor. At times I wasn’t sure we could pull it off.
It may come as no surprise to learn that it takes longer to produce a collection than it takes to produce a full-length novel. The main reason, in my experience, has been that there is a lot more to do in terms of communication. When producing a novel, we’re working with a single individual. Conversely, when producing a collection with upward of 40 or so contributors, a lot more messaging is going on throughout the entire production process. It’s not good, but it’s not bad either. It’s just part of the business, though it does take time.
Of course, working with a number of authors means that you get to learn a bit about them. Not a lot, but a few things. With this most recent collection, I’ve been fortunate to engage with a few of the contributors beyond their manuscripts. Those brief exchanges mean a lot to me because they help me in terms of humanizing the authors we publish. For example, it’s pretty unlikely I’m going to meet face to face with one of our international authors during the production cycle. But in exchanging messages with them that transcend the work we are each doing, there is a greater sense of knowing each other. Which brings me to author bios.
I probably enjoy reading the author bios of our contributors as much as their actual work. Every bio is unique. Of course it is. And every author has a story to tell. I’m not referring to the work they are producing but the actual lives they’ve lived that has resulted in their unique, one-of-a-kind author bio that will publish in the collections where their stories are found. We also publish these bios on our website with photos of our authors. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy this small aspect of the process. Matching a face to a bio makes it even more real for me. To date, I believe we have worked with 59 authors in 21 months. Sometimes I wonder how we get it done.
One reason, of course, is that we simply put in the hours. This is why I’m awake so late on a work night, working on our Contributors web page, adding small photos and brief windows into the lives of the authors we’ve published, each a fascinating story of its own. Over the next few days the page will be fully revised, and there it will remain, until the next Halloweencollection arrives in early October 2019, at which point I’ll be back here again, updating the page with new faces and new stories.
I look forward to making these new acquaintances, perhaps even yours.
We’re getting together the new anthology, AURORA. Editing is a big part of its assembly.
Editing is different all-together, in my mind, from proofreading, though both are important in their way.
Proofreaders look for mistakes–misspelled words, incorrect punctuation, style points. It’s not the most enervating job you’re ever gonna do, but it is vital to the finished project.
Editing is usually thought of as cutting, as if when you wrote you made a dress that was too big for the client, and now you have to cut two sizes off of it, bluntly, and with your scissors. And when you cut it down you are going to lose the very lovely bird that was woven into the fabric at just the right spot to hit the shoulder of the dress. Couldn’t the client just get fatter?
Editing, though, is not really about cutting. It’s much more like flower arranging than tailoring. You, the writer, have amassed a lovely bunch of flowers for the vase. Each is beautiful in its own right. However, in this tall vase you’ve chosen, the stem of this astilbe is too short. I suggest leaving it out or using it in a smaller vase. I want to use all your colors if I can, but the pink scabiosa look faded against the orange tiger lilies. I will suggest you add a few white ones in between, maybe the Queen Ann’s Lace, to bolster the pink rather than compete with it.
Accepting an editor’s changes is always optional. However, depending on the publisher, by choosing not to accept the edits, you may risk remaining unpublished. It can be a very black and white situation that leaves many writers feeling unappreciated, and without agency.
That’s truly not what I want to have happen between you and I when I edit your manuscript. If I am going to put time into editing something you’ve written, it is because I love it. Otherwise, I would simply not accept it at all. So, when I edit it, I am really hoping that I have helped you to refine your voice, make your message clearer, make your jokes funnier, keep your pace and flow intact, and point out holes you may not have seen. I try to be you, outside of your body, but in love with your work, and looking to nourish it, not change it.
It really is my goal to publish older writers, to have their stories heard. Editing is a free service a publisher provides for the writer; or, it should be. You shouldn’t have to pay for editing with cash, check, or story. Like a jeweler with a rough-cut stone, I’m not there to change you from an emerald to a ruby, I’m there to help you polish your work to a high shine.
Happy July! The summer is racing by this year in hot gusts of air! It makes me want to retreat to any air-conditioned spot where I can work on my novel. It makes those of us who work at Devil’s Party Press want to read full-length manuscripts and find some good ones to publish in 2019/20. What have you been working on? Could this be the summer you transition from writer to author?