From Writer to Author: Part Two

As I mentioned in Part One, I completed my manuscript and the next step was hiring an editor. This is a daunting experience for first-time novelists. Where do I find an editor? What are the standard fees? How can I predict a good working partnership?

Hiring an editor

Luckily, I looked no further than Fiction Writing on Facebook. The group's founder, Brian Paone, is an author and editor. His advice about the mechanics and craft of writing are always educational, and like many members, I take notes.

Brian Paone has written four novels. I read "Welcome to Parkview," "Yours Truly, 2095," and "Dreams are Unfinished Thoughts." I am anxiously awaiting the delivery of his new release, "Midnight City Drive." Although I will never claim my writing ability is as flawless as his prose, I noted our writing styles are similar. I decided to hire him when I required an editor.

"The Double Nickel Tour," was the first short story I sent to him. When he returned my pages dripping with red ink, I was not deterred. I was determined to polish that rock into a gem. I was elated when my story was published in the anthology, "A Journey of Words," among thirty-four authors. Maybe I was a writer, after all.

I continued to send short stories that I prepared for publication submissions to Brian for editing. Publishers accepted some and rejected others. Throughout this process, I continued to learn from Brian's notes and improved my writing skill with each story.

My confidence soared while completing these short stories ranging in the 2000-7500 word count categories. So, I took the plunge and sent my novel, "Something's Not Right with Lucy," to Brian. At approximately 75,000 words at a fee of one penny per word, I hit send money on Paypal and emailed my manuscript. And waited. I didn't wait long.

Within a few days, he returned chapter after chapter marked with the familiar red ink. By this time, Brian and I enjoyed a casual business relationship. I never asked for deadlines, and although his notes were always presented in a positive manner, some of his suggestions would have likely rattled a thin-skinned author. The delicate dance that editors and authors engage in guarantees emotions are best reserved for the storyline.

Being a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I analyzed his suggestions that went beyond mere grammatical corrections. When he noted: "I eliminated this paragraph, it's all telling." I agreed. Some of his notes induced laughter, like when he read my sentence: "He nodded his head." Brian's sideline note was hilarious: Of course he nodded his head, what else would he nod? Change that to simply, "He nodded."

Within about six weeks, I reviewed and made changes to my manuscript. Due to hiring an editor, my writing is stronger. I will soon announce a release date for my debut novel, "Something's Not Right with Lucy."

Do authors need editors to be successful? She nodded her head.

Wait! Strike that: She nodded.

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