Thursday, September 17, 2009

Great Expectations Part II

By Paula Matter

Two weeks ago I posted about hiring a freelance editor and I was awaiting her letter.

Two weeks later. . .

Ten printed out pages. That’s the length of my editorial letter. I hear that’s not too bad. Even could’ve been worse. One agent blogger I read faithfully stated her longest letter was fifteen pages. Wow. I can deal with my ten pages.

I was right about all of my predictions.

And then some. She picked up on some things I hadn’t been concerned about. Most of her suggestions were dead on and I agreed with them 100%. Others, not so much. Until I read the letter again. And again. Ohhhh, so that’s what she meant by that. Hmm. Good idea.

“She” is the wonderful Kristen Weber. Her new Web site is at

I’m not at all ashamed to have stolen this directly from her Web site:

“As an editor, I feel it's my job to help authors push their own words and ideas out even further. They already have the spark of something great……editors are there to help them make it explode.”

Kristen certainly does that. And she listens.

Don’t take my word for it. Check out her Web site, read the testimonials from some of her authors. E-mail them and find out for yourself what they think. I did before hiring Kristen. Ask Kristen herself if you have any questions.

Now, it you’ll excuse me, I’ve got work to do. I’m about halfway through Kristen’s suggestions.


Annette said...

Paula, I love seeing you so fired up and focused, but I confess, I miss my critique buddy.

I can't wait to see your book in print. I want a signed copy, you know!

Good luck with those revisions. Keep us posted.

Joyce said...

Yes, good luck and keep us posted!

I don't need to know how much, but I have to ask--was it expensive? Would you do it again?

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I have to say take full advantage of qualified people who give specific feedback. Especially if you pay them.

About 3 years ago, after I had written about 70,000 words of my first novel, I fell into that pit of dispare where I wondered if I had written 70,000 words of crap or if I actually had something I could work with.

I happened upon a wonderful author by the name of Bobbi Smith (Queen of Western Romance) and a very nice person. I chatted with her before a marketing seminar and told her of my doubts. She explained how normal it was and gave me the name of her freelance editor. As a friend of Bobbi's she gave me a great rate and I sent off 100 pages.

Several days later I spent an hour with her on the phone taking comments. Really good stuff. This wasn't a line edit or sentence structure, although she did a little of that. It was, Character, Consistency, Technique, etc. While she ripped apart certain things, I looked at the positives and got jazzed.

I sent the second 100 pages. Several days later, she called and asked me if I felt she was being mean. I told her no, not at all. She said her husband had listened in on that first call and afterward said that if he were me, he would have hung up the phone and sent hate mail. She seemed relieved that I was soaking the criticism in the spirit it was meant for.

Of course it took 10 more major rewrites before I got my publishing contract for the MS, but for me, it was a necessary step. And I actually got to sign a book for that freelance editor, purchased by my friend, Bobbi Smith.

I'm not a big fan of critique groups, but that's just me.

Jennie Bentley said...

I guess it must be different from person to person, but my editorial letters have never exceeded three pages. Half a page to tell me how wonderful I am and how much my editor liked this, that or the other, to butter me up before the criticism. Then a page with general concerns - plot, structure, character, what works and what doesn't - and then a page and a half, usually, of specific pages where something or other is out of whack and needs fixing. It's more involved than it seems, since it always takes me a couple of weeks to do all of it.

I know people who love critique groups and benefit greatly from them, but I've never been in one, and I can't say it's hurt me, particularly. At this point, it doesn't really make sense to join one, since I have to write too fast for a critique group to do me any good. When you write 90,000 words in three months, taking ten pages to a monthly meeting doesn't make much sense. I do have one or two beta readers/critique partners I absolutely love, in addition to my agent, though. Readers are a wonderful and necessary thing, and when you find a good one, treat him or her like gold!