I'd like to welcome guest blogger Pippa Jay, who will soon be a new author with Keir, a SFR coming from Lyrical Press. Today, Pippa shares some valuable insights into surviving a first round of edits, always a humbling experience in the path to becoming published.A Newbie’s Guide to Surviving That First Ever Set of Edits
1. Whatever happens, DON’T PANIC! Take a deep breath. Look them over. If necessary, walk away. Have a coffee/tea/beverage of your choice. When you’re ready, go back and look through them again.Read through carefully. If it’s too daunting, start with a few of the simpler fixes. Ridding yourself of a few pages of tracking changes with nothing more than a few odd errors in punctuation, word choice, grammar etc. can make it seem less overwhelming.
2. Your editor is NOT your enemy. On the contrary, they could be your greatest ally. If you’re struggling with the changes/rewrites, they will often brainstorm or offer further suggestions and encouragement. Or if you’ve made a big change and you aren’t sure if you’ve gone too far/far enough, get their advice. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help. And if you don’t think you’re going to make the deadline, let them know as soon as possible.
3. Don’t let the suggested changes get you down. They are generally exactly that - suggestions. What your editor feels will really improve your work and make it more marketable. They have the advantage of coming in fresh to your work and can spot any plot holes, inconsistencies or errors that could have been missed by beta readers. But writing is very subjective, so discuss any issues you have with your editor.
4. Do not rant at your editor. It’s rude, unprofessional and could earn you the reputation of being a difficult author that no one will want to work with. They are just doing their job. If you feel the need to let off steam, do so to your BFF, crit partner, spouse etc. Don’t blow your writing career on the first book.
5. Don’t be afraid to argue your point. If you really feel that strongly about something, or you feel it’s essential, then say so. Your editor and publisher are experts in their field, but only you really know your characters and your story. One comment that came out in my edits was that it seemed odd my female MC had had so few relationships in her lifetime. My answer - she’s just not that kind of girl!
6. But do be prepared to compromise. With this being my first experience of the whole process, I’ve probably accepted a lot more of the changes than I would in future (although hopefully I’ve also learned to make fewer mistakes too!). Try to be objective when looking at the changes and don’t take them as a personal attack.
7. Stay offline. Unless you’re talking things over about your MS or doing some research. It’s just too much of a distraction.
8. You will feel better at the end. It’s a cathartic experience, but afterward I felt the story was much stronger. To be honest, even after all the work I put into my MS there were still things that niggled me about it when I submitted it. I don’t feel that now. My editor may have kicked my behind from one end of my book to the other, but I appreciate the effort she put into it and the support she gave me throughout.
9. Don’t think that’s the end! Chances are that you will spend at least a couple of weeks batting the MS between you and your editor until the copy edits are done and you’re both happy.
If anyone has anything else to add, please do so in the comments. Some of these are things I wish I’d been told before my first set of edits arrived, and others are from things I’ve heard in the publishing world that should or shouldn’t be done. If you thought getting your book contracted was the end of it, you’ve a shock coming. Just remember to breathe. J
For Keirlan de Corizi--the legendary 'Blue Demon' of Adalucien--death seems the only escape from a world where his discolored skin marks him as an oddity and condemns him to life as a pariah. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise: Tarquin Secker, a young woman who can travel the stars with a wave of her hand.
But Quin has secrets of her own. She's spent eternity searching through space and time with a strange band of companions at her back. Defying her friends' counsel, Quin risks her apparent immortality to save Keir. She offers him sanctuary and a new life on her home world, Lyagnius.
When Keir mistakenly unleashes his dormant alien powers and earns instant exile from Quin's home world, will she risk everything to stand by him again?
A stay-at-home mum of three who spent twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metal and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay bases her stories on a lifetime addiction to science-fiction books and films. Somewhere along the line a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. She spends the odd free moments between torturing her characters trying to learn guitar, indulging in freestyle street dance and drinking high-caffeine coffee. Although happily settled in historical Colchester in the UK with her husband of 18 years, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head. Keir is her first full-length novel, a science-fiction romance being released 7th May 2012 through Lyrical Press Inc.