Monday 16 November 2020

Working With Editors - The After Process



Over the years of writing, I have worked with a handful of editors, and while I have done pieces on the editing process before (found here, here and here) I thought that I would talk to you a little today about what it's like to work with an editor. A lot of people will tell you about the types of editors, and what they do, but they don't go into too much detail of what that editing relationship is like, and since I've been with the same editors for long periods, it felt like I could give you that insider look.

For the purpose of the piece, I'm gonna be talking about working with Kim (developmental/content editor), B (line editor), and Natalie (proofreader) just so that everyone knows who's who. I might also talk about Toni (former line and content editor) but since I haven't worked with her for a number of years, I probably will focus more on my current line up.

The big thing people tell you when looking for an editor is to make sure you click, and the reason for this is that during that editing process, you're gonna be working with them a whole lot. And if you don't get on, if you clash personality wise, then you're in for a not nice time, and that's never fun. The editing process itself is already difficult to go through, without adding in personal issues as well.

Working with Kim has been a lot of trial and error when we first started working together. To begin with we used Word, she would take the book and make corrections in comments and then send it back to me when she was done, or in big chunks. This worked somewhat, but it meant that if there were, what we call cascading failures, it would be a headache for the both of us.

Now we use Google docs and we'll go through chapter by chapter and make the changes. She'll change grammar and such like that without needing to mark it, because I trust her grasp and style. If it's content stuff, she'll mark it and then I'll make the changes, mark it and she'll either call it done, or we might end up discussing ways to make it work better. At the end of the day, it's my book, so I get final say, and if these changes have a knock on effect over the remainder of the document then I'll go through and try and catch and make all those changes so that it makes things smoother.

Kim and I have been friends for over ten years, and she and I, usually, share a vision for how the book should go. At the end of the day, it's down to me to say whether this change is gonna stay in the book or now. Working with her over the past five books or so using Google docs has been easier than using a word document and because of that, it's the same way I go through edits with B and Natalie because it's just so much easier to have it all in one place.

B and I have been friends for over twenty years and she's pretty good at knowing how the story should go, and also pointing out anything that might've been missed by Kim and I. As a line editor, she's gonna get nit-picky about some of the phrasing and such. That's literally her job, going through things on a line by line basis and deciding if it matches the story, the voice and so on. Like with Kim, I can discuss changes with her without having to use the chat function, and it means that the process goes a lot quicker and is a lot smoother.

And finally Natalie and I have been working together for a number of books, I actually forget how many, maybe ten? Anyway, unlike B and Kim, she can't make changes to the document itself, she has to mark everything and I'll go and make the changes. This is simply so that I can make sure that formatting and such stay the same since it's the final check before it goes out to ARC readers and gets published.

I've made no secret of the fact that I am not fond of the editing process, but it's nothing to do with the people I work with, and everything to do with the process itself, but working with these three does make it slightly easier because at the end of the day we have a shared goal, and we're all working hard to get the book to the point where it can be published.

Do you have any questions about working with editors? Lemme know in the comments below!

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