Published May 30, 2010 by Lorraine Nelson - Author

Zakia & the Cowboy winged its way through cyberspace yesterday, back to the editor who offered substantial feedback on it.  She was right to do so.  In critiquing my manuscript, she provided me with a healthy respect for an editor’s daily work and the means to make my story really sing its tune.  In that respect, revising with direction from an editor is similar to fine-tuning an instrument.  A book reads much better and a song is a pleasure to listen to.

I’ve heard a lot of grumbling during the past year as to authors having to do revisions to their manuscripts.  In some ways, I can understand it.  An author pours heart and soul into his/her story, trying to portray events and emotions to best further the story.  It’s hard to go back and tear it apart when you’re happy with it as is.  But the flaws we overlook, or are not aware of, can make or break a sale. 

A manuscript is part of you,  similar to a newborn babe.  You give it life, nurture it and watch it grow to be something you can be proud of.  That’s why revising is so hard to do.  To cut out parts of your story altogether or change names and events alters the original concept somewhat.  But it doesn’t have to.  To revise and keep the premise of a story intact takes skill and patience.

An editor can read through your work and see problems you weren’t aware of.  That’s their job.  If the plot isn’t strong enough, or the conflict isn’t clear enough, whatever, they’ll advise you to strengthen those areas.  It takes work, dedication to the craft and determination to create a stronger, more saleable product. 

What good is it to publish a book if the work isn’t going to sell?  Sure, you have friends and family who are willing to spend money on it, and maybe a few outside sales as well, but do you envision your book to be a one-hit wonder, or do you hope to interest the publisher in contracting more of your work?

Writing is one of the best jobs in the world because, to me, it isn’t work.  It’s a hobby, something I do to keep my mind alive while on medical leave from my day job.  But it’s a hobby I’m more than willing to share with the world at large and hopefully, get paid for doing it.  lol

Every editor has his/her own way of doing things and if they see promise in your writing and ask for revisions, you should listen.  They’re doing you a favor by pointing out the weak or uncertain areas in your writing and every word of feedback from an editor should be treasured.

I’ve learned a lot since I began working with editors and my writing has become stronger, more saleable.  In the end, that’s what we’re all aiming for…a product that sells and sells well.  So if you’re fortunate enough to garner the attention of an editor, or in my case, three different editors, keep an open mind and absorb everything they have to say about your writing.  If they’ve taken the time to send you a detailed critique and ask for revisions, they’re interested.  It’s in your best interests to revise and resubmit your work.  Revisions are part of the learning curve.  Following an editor’s direction could be the difference between a signed contract and a rejection letter.  Which would you choose?


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