Who Needs an Editor? Everybody!

editing

Editing has always been my perfect job, and I’ve been fortunate enough to do it professionally for over a decade. I keep my calendar full, but lately it’s been feeling a little…stale. It shouldn’t! I love my authors, both those with Limitless and my indies, but I realized I hadn’t added many new clients to my roster in a long time, afraid of overextending myself. Maybe I was being a bit lazy.

Now I’m rededicating myself to editing more books for more wonderful authors, and I’ve put up a page here to provide all the details.

While I can edit any fiction genre and have handled every romance sub-genre you can imagine, I’d also like to expand my editing to include more of what I actually read in my own spare time. I love anything supernatural, paranormal, dystopian, urban fantasy, traditional fantasy, sci-fi, or thriller, though I’m more than happy to welcome romance clients too.

If you’re an author or know an author seeking an editor, please check out my Professional Editing page and get in touch!

A Mixed Bag

My job, and consequently my life, is a constant juggling act. As Managing Editor for circus-160165_960_720Limitless Publishing, I wear a lot of hats and have to balance the needs of authors, editors, proofreaders, our marketing team, formatters, cover designers, anthology projects…and just thinking about this makes me want a drink.

Factor in household responsibilities, the husband, personal care, and the Direwolves, and it’s even more chaotic. Mozzie just started a new hole in the yard (sorry, Tom) and rolled in it for a while, and we’re expecting my in-laws this evening for a visit. Oh, well.

Still, I try to focus primarily on one category each day. It might be an admin day, in which I manage things like schedules and planning, or an editing day if I have a looming deadline. It might be house stuff, or on the very rare days I don’t have an edit in progress, I can actually kick back and play with yarn.

For most of my life, this meant crochet, but I taught myself to knit a couple of months ago, and am working on my third scarf. I don’t even wear scarves, but it’s a good starter project. I’m using one cake of Lion Brand Mandala yarn, and you have to use the whole thing to get the full colorway, so it’s a long one. It’s currently, um…couch-length.

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See? Couch-length.

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Close-up of the working end, complete with lifelines. I still have lots of green and some blues to get through to reach yellow again, which is where I can finish off.

I want to learn cabling next, or maybe make a shawl or some slightly larger, more challenging project. Yesterday, I ordered a full set of interchangeable stainless steel circular needles from ChiaGoo, and can’t wait to play with them. Expensive, but cheaper than buying each individual size and cable length as I need them. That’s my justification.

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It’s still early, but today’s agenda is crowded and not conducive to focusing on one thing. I have to get things ready for the arrival of our house guests, finish an edit, continue the management-juggling, and get myself presentable enough to go to dinner this evening. Email is caught up for the moment, laundry running, so next up is some editing interspersed with house-tidying…and eventually a shower. I hope.

Or probably everyone else hopes, because I sincerely do not care.

A Day In The Life

It’s Monday again. Back to work for most, but some of us never really stopped.

When I tell people I’m the Managing Editor for a publisher, it’s hard to define what that means, so I thought I’d give it a shot here. I’m kind of exhausted just thinking about it, so let’s see how I do.

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The “editor” part is easy enough to understand. I edit books, working with the authors to get them all bright and shiny and ready for publication, both for my Limitless/Crave authors, and a select group of indie authors.

The “managing” part is much harder to describe. In short, I coordinate with a team of authors, editors, proofreaders, formatters, cover designers, marketing professionals, and the publisher’s executives to move a book through every step in the process, from submission to release.

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Honestly, I wear so many hats that most days I am technically nine feet tall. 

My first step every morning is checking email, and what I find there sets the tone for the rest  of the day. Email might include:

  • Receipt of a manuscript I was expecting for my editing schedule
  • Lack of receipt of said manuscript, or an email explaining why I don’t have it and begging for “one more day”
  • An author with a happy announcement
  • An author upset about something
  • An author upset about everything
  • Other team members being upset about the upset author
  • A long email exchange brainstorming new title ideas for a book or series because the original one sucked
  • A completed edit from one of my editors to be sent along to the proofreader
  • People inquiring about openings in my editing department…often misspelled and poorly punctuated
  • Drafts of cover blurbs to be reviewed/revised, and sent to upper management for approval or rejection
  • Exchanges with authors about release dates
  • Someone asking the same question I’ve already answered six times, as well as posting the information in one of our author groups
  • Messages from the cover artists asking where the hell the blurb is for the current project
  • An author announcing they have a great idea for a new series, and should they write it now, before they complete the series in progress? (No.)
  • Discovery that a newly-signed manuscript is 340,000 words, roughly four times longer than we’d prefer, followed by convincing an editor to tackle working with the author to divide it into palatable bits

And that’s just for starters.

I check the contract status report. If new books are on there, I have to log them all and start planning their edits, proofs, and creation of their book cover art and blurbs. If the author is new to us, I have to email them a welcome, list of instructions, and an overview of our editing process. I also have to check the budget, because none of this stuff is free.

I check the cover design status sheet. Once a book has a release date set, it needs to go on this sheet, and I send the assignments to the artists, giving them ample time to complete  the project.

I cross-check all my spreadsheets. Book log (which has columns for every step in the 13348883_10208326038441047_398668350_nprocess), blurb sheet (which shows release date and where we are on the writing of the blurb for the online listings and cover), contract sheet, cover design sheet, budget, release calendar, and my personal calendar. Doing this helps me spot inconsistencies or places I dropped a step along the way.

We have Facebook groups for our authors, promotion, a separate group for the authors with our Crave imprint, a readers’ group for Crave books, a group for the authors in our 13 and Carnival horror anthologies, and a readers’ group for them as well. I need to monitor all these, answer questions, cheer-lead a bit, and occasionally smooth ruffled feathers.

Our anthologies are almost a separate process, and somehow I ended up being primarily in charge of coordinating them. I work with the authors of previous anthologies, our marketing team, and the executive team to decide on a theme for the collection, work out submission, editing, proofing, and release dates, write the call for submissions, receive the submissions as they come in, work with submissions to determine which to include in the anthology, notify the authors (chosen and rejected), add newcomers to the relevant Facebook groups, assemble everything and send to the editor…

Are you tired yet? I am.

I love email and Facebook messages. I’d far rather do all business this way, but our CEO often prefers to call and run through a list of things rather than try to sort through email. Her brain works on approximately 48 tracks at a time at 9000 miles per hour, and shifts direction so suddenly and frequently I have permanent whiplash. There are also a few authors who require lengthy discussions or who comprehend complex conversations better by phone. I do it, but every phone call leaves me dying for a very large adult beverage. (I’m not a phone person. I literally only talk to the husband by phone, and that’s extremely rare, as we usually text.)

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Once I’m sure no part of this house of cards is in danger of immediate collapse, I can tackle my own daily editing project. Yes, it’s rare for me not to have an edit on deck. Right now, my first truly open date is in September. I figure out where I need to be in the current edit to remain on track to complete by deadline–because I DO NOT miss deadlines.

While editing, I have to keep an eye on email, because it never, ever stops. With authors all around the world, time zones mean nothing. I used to keep email open all the time, but for my own sanity, I had to start logging out in the evenings, being sure authors know they can reach me by Facebook messages if I’m awake, in case of emergency.

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Editorial Assistants Oliver and Mozzie

Don’t forget I work at home, which means occasionally breaking for laundry, unloading the dishwasher, a snack, a shower, letting the dogs in and out and in and out and inandout, feeding the dogs, making dinner, telling the dogs for the billionth time to shut the hell up because the neighbors are actually allowed to enter and leave their own homes, sit on the porch, or drive their vehicles, though they would not be if I had any say in the matter.

 

Only when email is relatively quiet and I’ve met my editing goal for the day and no dumpster fires are currently in progress can I ease back a bit and do what I do in my off time, which right now is knitting and Netflix. Still, I have to be available for time-sensitive author-wrangling and question-answering, so I use the pause button and stitch markers a lot.

While it can be a bit overwhelming at times, and there’s never a dull moment, I can’t imagine having any other job, unless maybe professional beverage-tester at a beach bar somewhere is an option.

With all this going on, you can probably figure out why I’m unofficially retired from the Author gig and focusing on blogging, though I’m writing a lot more in the blog than I have on novels over the last few years. Which, I think, is how it’s meant to be.

Grammar Apocalypse

I have a couple of zombie-related posts planned for this week, in honor of the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead. I’ll discuss my thoughts on the episode tomorrow, I think, since it doesn’t air in the UK until tonight, and it will be full of spoilers.

One small detail that irks the living crap out of me, though, is a common grammar error that’s pervasive in the genre. I can’t help it; I’m an editor. Words are literally my business.

Basic conjugation of “bite” is simple.zombie

Present tense = bite. Zombies bite tasty, slow-moving humans.

Past tense = bit. The zombie bit him on the ass when he tried to crawl under the fence.

Past participle = bitten. Jeb was bitten an hour ago, so it’s too late to cut off his arm to save him. The loud-mouthed idiot got bitten yesterday, and Frank happily shot him in the face. He’d been bitten by a zombie weasel, which was kind of funny. It had bitten him six times before Horace killed it with a lawn dart.

Apparently, past participles do not survive the zombie plague, because nobody uses them. “You been bit?” “I got bit.” “He was bit.” I understand The Walking Dead originated in the rural southeastern United States, and that phrasing is a casual dialect that is accepted in the area. I know it, but I still cringe. Because it’s wrong. Just…wrong.

The rapidly-declining use of proper grammar in our society might be a sign of an impending apocalypse. People so commonly say “he got bit” that it’s accepted, and most people don’t even realize it’s incorrect.

Because of this, even though it goes against every nit-picky bone in my editorial brain, I have to leave it that way in dialogue when I’m editing. That (sadly) is how people talk, so I have to swallow the bitter bile of poor grammar and move on. I still insist on “he was bitten” in narrative, though.

While I have to pick my battles, I refuse to completely surrender.