Friday, 6 May 2016

Thoughts from an author: Publisher edits

This week I received The Badman's Daughter back from the publisher complete with edits for me to check and comment on. Overall, I was very happy with them. I know I'm not word perfect and I try not to be too precious about what I write. In fact, I found it useful and was pleased to hear that the editor enjoyed the story.

A lot of writing books will tell you not be too wordy. Interestingly for me, I find myself to have swung in the opposite direction. The editor actually added words in including 'was' and 'that', although to be fair the instances were rare. It seems my main sin is too many commas and hyphenated words.

With regard to commas, I think that sometimes they're subjective. I'm referring to the ones where you would put them in as a natural breath if you were talking. It made me wonder how I present myself when I speak, bearing in mind I interview people for a living. At least for the next few days, I think I'll be conscious of this and hope it doesn't spoil my presentation too much before it improves it.

With regard to the hyphenated words, they did concern me a little in case I had gone bonkers. Consequently, I referenced a lot of those edit notes online to check my facts and returned, what I hope were, appropriate comments where I felt they were needed.

It's a strange process assessing someone else's edits of your work. After all, you wrote what you thought was a perfect manuscript and then you see comments that show it wasn't. Personally, I find it hard to respond to them as I find myself second guessing the original vs the edit and I worry that the returning comments that disagree with the editor's will either make me look like an idiot or offend them. However, being a person who naturally expects to be judged on everything I do I can't just let something go that I disagree with.

This is the point where people frequently tell me to 'stop overthinking it'.

Stepping back, I tell myself that none of it is personal and as an author or an editor you lay yourself open to criticism. I'm sure that the end result will be a well produced piece of fiction that in 10 years will be long forgotten, if it was ever noticed in the first place.

Until next time...


  1. Don't undersell yourself, Jo. In 10 years your books will still be read in libraries - I know mine are, thanks to PLR. So they won't be forgotten. If an editor alters something and it doesn't change the sense or image I was striving at, I'm not concerned. It's all subjective - some readers 'edit' as they read, too, and then give a review...!

  2. Still in libraries in 10 years - that's good to know.

    I agree that editing is subjective. I thought the Crowood editing was very fair and didn't interfere with my style at all. Like you, if it doesn't change the sense or meaning, I'm not that precious about it being altered.