The Revision Decision

http://www.rachellegardner.com//HLIC/a3c26c1752ce327bdae033fd979be940.jpg Guest Blogger: Keli Gwyn Many of us expect that one day we’ll receive edits on our manuscript from an editor at our publishing house, but the idea of getting edits from our agent can come as a shock. It brings up a lot of questions in a new writer’s mind. When I received my first-ever set of revision notes from my agent, these are the questions I asked myself. Did my agent have the right to request revisions? Technically, an agent is employed by an author. They agree to represent us, but they’re selling a product—our work. However, they put their reputation on the line along with ours each time they send out a submission. Therefore, I believe they have the right to request revisions and so I accepted this part of the process. Did I want to work with an agent who offered...
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More on Revision Letters

A few weeks ago, guest blogger Camille Eide wrote about getting a revision letter for her novel, and how much time she spent reworking the manuscript as a result. Many of you have asked variations of the following question, which came from Mike Dennis: I have to ask, if the agent had 10 pages of “suggested” changes, how could she have liked the book in the first place? What I mean is, when the agent thinks virtually everything in the book should be revised, it usually means she sees very little reason to represent it. It’s hard to imagine an agent slogging all the way through a book like that, then saying, “Yes! Yes! This is what I’ve been looking for!” Since so many people seem to wonder the same thing, let me take a shot at explaining. 1. It’s...
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The Revision Letter

http://www.rachellegardner.com//HLIC/bb20a3ef2e7b596ded94199e7d4b7b79.jpg Last week, guest blogger Camille Eide wrote about her first experience with a Revision Letter. Some of you may wonder, what exactly does that letter address? Simply put, it addresses whatever your particular book needs to make it the best it can be. But to be a little more specific, here is a rundown of SOME of the things your editor may look at. Story issues:Does the plot makes sense? Is there a strong narrative structure? (Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement… but there are numerous ways to describe dramatic structure). Is there an identifiable conflict and pressing story question? Is the reader engaged from the very first scene? Does the action flow naturally and does the pacing keep the reader turning the page? Are the setting and time period...
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What Do You Mean My Hero Isn’t Sexy Enough?

http://www.rachellegardner.com//HLIC/e22a81284081598cbbaaa9807e685c47.jpg Surviving the Editorial Letterby Camille EideI got The Call! About a year and a half ago, the agent to whom I’d submitted my manuscript called and offered representation. Meaning my first novel would soon be published, my kids could all go off to college to become rich and famous, and I could hunker down and focus on writing a dozen bestsellers. What I didn’t know was that my agent was working on a Revision Letter for my book, similar to the kind an author receives from a publishing house after the book is contracted. In my case, it was a long letter detailing what changes the manuscript needed in order to be ready to sell. We’re talking long. Like Obama’s Health Care Bill long. Okay, ten pages, single spaced. I’d heard about these revision letters and expected to get one—in...
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Dealing with Contradictory Feedback

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/TBVCJwwg7oI/AAAAAAAAD5k/15Id_yA84tc/s200/contradiction_small.jpg I frequently receive questions about all the “mixed messages” writers get in the course of writing and publishing their books. So we’re going to spend this whole week talking about it. One of the kinds of mixed messages we have to deal with is getting contradictory responses to our work. You may hear one thing from your friends, another from your crit group, and something different from an editor or agent. Agents experience this too: A project out on submission often elicits barely any response from some editors, while others are jumping up and down with excitement. Or you may enter your work in a contest and be completely befuddled at the judges’ responses. My client Katie had this experience: “I got my contest scores back. One was a perfect score of 100 and...
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Should I Hire a Freelance Editor?

http://www.rachellegardner.com//HLIC/3edcda7872e5dcde92e6befc3de6b274.jpg Lately more and more people have been asking me if they should hire an editor prior to submitting to agents. Here’s my take: Using a freelance editor can be a great idea – if you use it as a learning experience. You need to do most of the work yourself. I think it’s wasted money if you’re counting on someone to fix your manuscript for you. The point is to get an experienced set of eyes on it to help you identify problems and figure out how to fix them. Prior to being represented or having a contracted book, the best way to work with an editor is to have them give you notes on your book, but not make changes themselves in the manuscript. Then you can go back to your manuscript, grasp the reasons for the changes they’re suggesting, and implement them, all the...
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Tighten Up Your Manuscript!

There comes a time in every writer’s life when an editor requires them to reduce their word count. Ack! Not my precious words! Even if an editor hasn’t asked you to do this, most writers would benefit from tightening up their manuscripts before submission. (I, for one, would appreciate it. ) But how do you do this? Never fear. Most writers can significantly shorten their manuscript simply by eliminating extraneous adverbs, adjectives, gerunds, and passive verbs, i.e. things you don’t need anyway. If you cut 10 words per page in a 350-page manuscript, you’ve already shortened it by 3,500 (unnecessary) words. So how do we do this? Here’s a checklist of things to consider cutting: → Adverbs, especially those with “ly” endings. Ask yourself if they’re necessary. →...
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Guest Blogger: Terry Brennan

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5cLmD8GqnKY/Sba5F103tUI/AAAAAAAACx8/GW5yvceSyfo/s200/Terry+Brennan+small+for+web.jpg The Hell Formerly Known As Editing It was June 30, 2008 and my wife and I were driving home from the Adirondacks when Rachelle called. “How does it feel to be a published author?” When I stopped dancing around the car – yes, I had parked first – my head was spinning. It still is. But the dreams of fame and fortune, which so quickly sprang to mind that day, have been put on hold. First comes editing. I signed a contract with Kregel for my first novel, The Sacred Cipher. We’ve been through two rounds of editing with three more to come. The release date has been shuffled from April to July 31 of this year. The first thing I must say is that the people I’ve worked with at Kregel have been great. They are all professional; holding to high standards; clear and articulate in...
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Guest Blogger: Michelle LaRowe Conover

How to Handle it When Things Go WrongIf you’re a published author, you know the excitement that rang through me as I saw my final copyedited manuscript arrive in my inbox when it chimed “you’ve got mail.” I eagerly opened up the email from the acquisitions editor at the publishing house, ready to sign off on this final version so that my manuscript could be moved on to typesetting. I’ve been through this process a few times before and expected that things would sail on as smoothly as they always had. I’d open the document, give it a quick read, and send it back with my approval. If the walls could talk, they’d have a lot of unflattering things to say about what happened next. As I began reading through the manuscript, I went into a full blown...
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Handling the Editorial Process

Many of you are working on your first contracted book. (Yeah!) Prior to your publishing deal, you may have been through countless edits and revisions of your book (or books). But you’ve never had to do it under deadline, and you’ve never done it with the input of your own publishing house editor. So this is something new, and I thought I’d address it a little more fully than I have before. I explained the editorial process in this post. Beyond the basics explained there, I wanted to talk about the emotional aspect. As a writer, you obviously care deeply about your words and you’ve tried to get them just right. So your first encounter with an editor might be a little daunting. When they send you pages and pages of notes for revisions, you might be overwhelmed,...
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