Thursday, September 02, 2010

Are you taking shortcuts on the road to publication?


I’ve quit taking shortcuts. Shortcuts on the road to publication. I’ve stopped being in a hurry to send out work that isn’t my best.

Sure I read craft books, used critique partners and Beta readers, attended conferences, took online courses but. . .

There was one step I skipped because part of me didn’t think I was good enough or that it would help.

I finally hired a professional editor.

Yeah. I did it and all I can say is WOW.

I’m not sure I will ever query another book without using one. It’s amazing what an editor picks up that I thought I had nailed down.

There are tons of great editors out there quoting all different prices. I shopped around for estimates first. I finally chose Tammy Barley because of what she did for me before I selected her. On her website, she offers a free two-page sample critique and then tells you what she would charge. She sold me with her example and sweet personality even before I got my edits back.

Another wow.

If you need more proof of the kind of feedback an editor can provide—go to her Website and let her show you herself.

I’ve been working on the changes and already I’ve learned so much. My book reads fresher and sounds more put together. But I’ve also encountered moments when I wonder if I can even make this book any good and then I stumble across one of her encouraging comments.

In the end, a great story is why we get the call—but for someone to even look at our story—we shouldn’t take shortcuts.

What shortcuts have you been taking?

48 comments:

Diane said...

Great investment. It will come back to you with great returns :O)

Kenda said...

Terri--you're so right about turning to a professional editor. I had my mss professionally critiqued last spring and I'm still working on her suggestions. But she helped open my eyes to weak areas that I don't think I would have seen otherwise. I'm so glad I had the edit done :-) Now I'm working on my pitch. Are there any shortcuts to that? I don't think so!

Lin Floyd said...

never thought of hiring an editor...guess I didn't want to spend the money because I self publisher...hmm!

Jennifer Shirk said...

That is fantasttic, Terri!!
I'm so happy you found one that is a good fit for you!
Would love to hear more about your experience working with her. :)

Linda O'Connell said...

We are too close to our own greatness, :) and ana editor can pinpoint what we overlook. Good advice.

Kathryn Magendie said...

My second book was written so quickly - it wasn't an "on purpose" shortcut, but instead due to family emergencies and I thought "a deadline is a deadline" but, maybe if I had it to do over again, I'd have extended that deadline by even a month, if that would have been even possible. . . just to catch a few things that are now bugging me!

I used to edit novels (before those deadlines got in the way!) and if you have a good editor, they are GOLD --

So glad you found the perfect person!

Janna Qualman said...

I definitely cut corners with my last book, and learned a lot from it. This time I'm learning how to take the long route--and maybe even enjoy it!

Karen Lange said...

I need to take more time to read books on the craft. That's one thing I've let slip in recent months. A workshop or two may be in order too, if funds allow. Glad you are making good progress with things!
Happy weekend,
Karen

Saumya said...

This is something that definitely took me a long time to realize. It is so easy to be concerned with time that we forget to really put our best work forward. Great post! So happy you found an editor you love!

Sarah Forgrave said...

I recently hired a freelance editor too and am SO glad I did! Totally worth the money. :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Terri..I think hiring a professional editor is a great idea. I will check Tammy out. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Erin MacPherson said...

That's AWESOME. She sounds like a great editor. HUGE congrats!

KarenG said...

You are SO write! A professional editor makes all the difference. Awesome that you found a good one!

Jan Cline said...

Going to do that myself soon. It really is important and a learning experience.

Tamika: said...

This is definitely a goal of mine as well. Much too early in my writing I sent off for professional critiques from The Christian Writer's Guild (Jerry B. Jenkins) and I was enthralled with all the feeback:)

Jill said...

I've taken the same shortcuts as you, sending work off the wasn't the best it could be. So how much did it cost you? Or is that an impolite question? Did the editor stay true to your voice?

Susan R. Mills said...

I've skipped this step as well. It's something I've been thinking a lot about. I'm glad you found someone you like. Perhaps I should begin shopping around.

Ann Best said...

Hi. You said you came over to my blog from KarenG's barbecue. I'm so glad you did! I consider myself an inspirational writer too, and I'm so happy to meet you.

This post especially interests me. Being of the "old" school of correct spelling and grammar I have a difficult time reading a book filled with spelling errors, and especially a book filled with wordy sentences and unnecessary and trite descriptive details. I'm reading a self-published book right now that has an incredibly intriguing story and I'll keep reading despite these kinds of errors, but I have to skim a lot or I find myself getting very impatient.

Maybe I should advertise my services, very inexpensively for my blogger friends. I'm 70 years old and have read and written throughout my life. I was an editing intern at college in my mid-forties; I taught freshman composition. I'm a whiz at line editing, which I paid close attention to with my second revisions of my book that's under contract right now with WiDo Publishing.

If you self-publish, you really do need a good editor, one that will help you get the lean, compelling prose (as Stephen King calls it) that will take your book to greater heights than it would otherwise go.
Ann

Jolene Perry said...

Even when I thought I'd waited long enough. I sent out my first novel too early. It's gone through one re-write and I'm about to take out another thread that doesn't need to be in there.
I'm trying really, really hard not to do that again.

patti said...

How exciting! Glad to hear this about Tammy! I will check out her place in case students ask...

Patti

colbymarshall said...

Today must be the day for everyone to post blogs about things I need to work on! :-) Yesterday, I got into a severe panic about having not written anything new lately. I don't know what sparked it, but I just got this urgent need to do something...fast! Then I realized why I wasn't- because it needed time to simmer in my brain so it wouldn't be a festering cow terd. Today, I'm chilling out.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

Congrats on finding a super editor!

BTW, you have an award on my blog (Wednesday post). :)

Blessings,
Susan

Julie Jarnagin said...

That's great, Terri! I'm going to go take a look at her site.

Sally said...

Instead of taking shortcuts I'm taking the road needing to be traveled. I have a guest blog today on Mel Mashburn's Godly Gals series: http://melissamashburn.blogspot.com/2010/09/godly-gals-sally-bishop.html

and I applied to blog for the Skirt! section of our local paper and got the go ahead today. Building that platform!

Angie Ledbetter said...

No shortcuts for this old girl. In fact, I'm taking my s-l-o-w sweet time to get it right...often dawdling through the woods, reading books I want to get atmosphere/info from, taking a "perspective vacation" now and then.... LOL

So glad you've got it going on with your work! Yay.

Jayne said...

Hello - I came by via Karen G's blog BBQ, nice to 'meet' you!

Short cuts - well, I learnt the hard way not to do them! I have sent stuff off in the past that really wasn't finished, and so this time around have spent a year revising just to make sure it really is super-ready. Even then I panic.

Sandra Heska King said...

Well, this made me feel better. I've kind of gotten sidetracked from my WIP while focusing on my blog. But I've been trying some new things and learning new things. So maybe all's not lost. :)

I will hire an editor, definitely. When the time comes.

Lynn said...

Happy for you! I've been thinking of hiring an editor to read a few of my short pieces. Your post is very timely for me!

Paul Greci said...

That's great, Terri!! It sounds like an incredibly productive move for you. Way to go!!

Carolyn said...

I've found that shortcuts usually lead to dead ends...so when I get ready, I'm going to follow your advice. I'm keeping a log of your suggestions...I want to be prepared! Thanks!

Julie Gillies said...

I'm SOOO excited for you, Terri! I completely agree that a professional pair of eyes can do wonders. It sounds like you've taken the bull by the horns and are making some real progress. Congratulations on a good decision to invest in your writing, girl!

T. Anne said...

There is a big difference having a professional set of eyes look at your MS. I'm so glad you made the leap. No shortcuts here. Bookshelves in 2012, right? Stay focused.

KelliGirl said...

Terri,
So glad the experience was so positive! Obviously it was money well spent. I am so excited for the progress that you're making and know that your talent combined with perseverance and teachable heart honors God tremendously. You bless and encourage all of us as well!!

I look forward to great things from you!

Amie B said...

i've used a professional editing service on both of my manuscripts. i use precision editing group - they do a free 10 page crit and their fees are the best i've seen.

Rhonda said...

This is very interesting. I'm filing this in my "Things I Need to Know" folder.

sarah said...

I'm hanging on to Tammy's name. I think anyone you recommend would be great. I'm working on my first fiction and want it to shine.

Danyelle said...

Sounds like a great suggestion! I think there really is a big difference in having someone look at a manuscript who's a professional. :)

I also wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind comments. :)

Julie Musil said...

This is definitely something I'd consider doing. In the end, I'll bet it'll be worth every single penny. And the encouragement? Well, that's like icing on the cake. Good luck with your revisions.

Deb Shucka said...

I'm so glad to read this. When I'm finished with this next draft of my book, I'll definitely be looking for a professional eye on my work. I hope your revisions go smoothly.

Janet said...

I guess my short cut is not having an editor. Like many others, I just didn't want to spend the money for it. I do have mine critiqued by my writing friends and they have helped me immensely.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Terri,
So wonderful to hear about the great editor you found. Also, I am so pleased that you and Ann Best finally met!

(((( hugs )))))

Doris

Nancy said...

It sounds like hiring an editor to be worth the money when one is ready for that step. I'm glad you had a great experience.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Terri--I'll be looking forward to hearing more about this as you progress with her. :)

Jen said...

Great choice and I'm glad that it works!!! I'm sure it will be worth it in the end for sure.

I have to say I completely underestimated how to write a full length novel. The writing isn't the problem, I can get that first draft done in a matter of weeks, it's the revising and editing that has me going nutso. Learning how to work on each chapter.

A work in progress, but now that I'm aware of how it all goes down I hope to not take any ridiculous 'short thoughts'.

Candyland said...

I've also used a pro and there's definitely a difference! Great post! I found you through Karen G!

Deniz Bevan said...

Just found you thanks to Karen G's BBQ! What a fun weekend!

Jackee said...

I'm just trying to enjoy the journey right now. I worry so much about when I will or won't get The Call that I'm tired of it. I can't control that, all I can control is what I learn, my attitude, and how I spend my time.

Have a great week, Terri!

Warren Baldwin said...

I hired a professional editor, too. Was a great move.