Monday, October 28, 2013

A Query of Editors

Wondering what editors do for other authors? How about what recent Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro's three editors do for her? Sometimes, the minimal:

“We don’t have to do much,” laughs Close, the hint of a southern drawl in her voice. “With many of Alice’s stories, they come in and none of us touches a word. But every now and then there are stories she’s a little stuck on and one of us will give a suggestion that proves helpful.”
But that's not to say that not taking action should be equivocated with not doing anything. In Munro's case, it's a given that the stories being submitted to these three editors (Anne Close, Douglas Gibson, and Deborah Treisman) are good. At that point, the assessment that needs to be made is whether there's any improving to be done. If they're already in top form, the editor's responsibility is to convince the author to leave it alone, which, given the infinite possible combinations of words an author can consider at any time, can be quite the chore.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Horn Tooting: Critical Margins Post

I'm proud to be able to send you over to Critical Margins today, where owner Kevin Eagan has been kind enough to follow through with the publication of the second part of my three-part essay on the "Current and Future States of the Publishing Industry," specifically regarding "Advertising, Promoting, & Marketing a Book."

(See part one here.)

I look forward to hearing your feedback and questions!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Horn Tooting: The Candidate by JL Wolfe

Buy the book at SmashwordsAmazon, or Barnes & Noble!

I'm proud to announce the release of the first book in the Project Lion Series: The Candidate, by JL Wolfe. This book was a blast to edit, with witty dialogue and exciting action scenes. Please check it out, and leave some feedback! I'm looking forward to seeing (and hopefully editing!) the second book as soon as it's finished. Loved it, hope you do, too.

Here's the author's own description: Driven on by a need to locate and secure his wife and children, Alex Martell finds himself thoroughly unprepared as he becomes swept up in global conspiracies and the agendas of competing world powers. Selected and known as the Candidate, he is thrust back in time to the dawn of Western civilization in order to bear witness to a list of historical events. With time working against him as the Intersection Point closes in and determined to salvage his cherished, simple, safe, and sheltered family life, he must weave through history unnoticed and avoid losing himself in the process. Pick it up at Smashwords, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

Runny Writing

I really enjoyed this post from Alison Flood at The Guardian about Dickens' original, handwritten draft of Great Expectations. I think it provides a prime example of how authors can focus on getting the story out first and worry about the finer details later. Great Expectations, of course, is an oft-taught classic by one of the most highly esteemed English authors who's ever lived. Seeing the sloppy writing crash into the margins, spelling out many sentences that didn't make it into the final draft is key evidence that great writing is the product of great editing.

Photo of Great Expectations manuscript courtesy of Cambridge University Press.
So fret not about getting it right the first time: no one's holding you to a hole-in-one standard. Just pace yourself and be aware of the amount of work that will be required in the long run. Oh, good, a metaphor! Let's explore:

Publishing is a marathon. It's a long way from start to finish. Great writers, like great runners, know the race is won through pacing, stamina, and support, not just a big, long burst of speed. Many books are begun with an epiphanic explosion of inspiration in which the writer leaps from a standstill into a dozen-page-at-a-time writing trance. Some people finish books still in this trance, but most never make it into the third chapter. The thing about publishing, though, is that it encompasses so much more than just writing. It requires revisions and editing, soliciting, a platform, marketing, distribution, formatting, and a plethora of other tasks depending on the publication in question. Losing steam in those later, tedious stages can result in just as much of a failure as giving up fresh out of the gate: crossing the finish line is the only goal that counts.