I enjoy editing, but what I love most is the potential each experience has to develop into a long term relationship that can last for years. Working with an Author long-term can be an incredible ride where you both share in the process and develop a give and take relationship.
Years ago, I stumbled across one of my dearest friends Rickey via an e-mail fan group. We connected with our love of writing, we read each other’s work and gave gentle critiques. Over time, she decided to retire from her “day job” and try her dream job of writing for a living.
Our partnership actually started out as writing partners slowly putting together a series of books while I worked 40+ hours and she tried to figure out the publishing world. It grew rather organically to my reading her manuscripts for fun and eventually our ‘mutual admiration society’ of two became an editor/author relationship.
Today, she writes as Mallory Kane and has published over 30 books in the last decade and a half. Most of what I do for her, now, are Developmental Edits. She is one of those lucky few who just don’t need that much in the way of copy-edits.
What working with her has taught me, however, is that when you work together as long as we have, your relationship, the partnership that you build often resembles marriage; there is a level of trust and communication absolutely necessary in order for the partnership of long-term editor/author to succeed.
I live by real world examples, so, here is one:
In 2005, Mallory sent me a manuscript she was working on for Harlequin Intrigue. It was giving her some trouble and needed both a developmental and copy edit. I had looked at and edited at least half a dozen books for her already, and at most I would fix a few grammar issues and sometimes suggest she add a prologue.
This book presented a more complicated issue and one that I thought would preclude it from being published. How in the world do you tell someone that they can’t publish their book as it is? I won’t go into details as for this discussion, they are unnecessary, but as an authentic myself, I will own that we ALL have these moments; scenes where our great idea just doesn’t work. The benefit of having someone do a developmental edit when this happens is that a good editor will not only point out the issues, but give solid suggestions on how to fix them.
I know that I spent hours writing up solutions for Mallory. The phone call to her was so hard, probably more difficult because we are so close. Working with a complete stranger can be less traumatic, but my rule of life is to treat even the strangers with respect and compassion and the understanding that they are trusting you with parts of their heart and soul. Be supportive and understanding, yet firm, and remind the author that you want them to succeed. You are there to help make that happen.
I have often likened my relationship with Mallory as not just a friendship but something akin to a marriage (a successful one) because of the level of trust we have developed with each other, and how hard we have worked over the years to communicate with each other.
I hope, if you are an author or editor reading this, that you someday get to experience the wonderful partnership with someone like mine with Mallory.
Oh, and after setting the book aside for about 5 months, Mallory finished the book. It became one of my favorites that she wrote for Harlequin Intrigue– A Father’s Sacrifice. She nailed it.
Books mentioned in this blog: