Monday, July 24, 2006

The Write Thing

Writers write, right? That’s what they do, but writing the book isn’t the end of the road. There are still miles to go before you get to sleep, let me assure you. Miss Snark has one of her usual brilliant commentaries on one of her correspondences regarding an author who figures that writing the book is enough, and doesn’t want any part of the filthy business of marketing, and selling.

Well, I’d like to tip toe backwards just a smidgeon from even that part. I hate to tell you this all you writers out there in inkland, but you’re not the bee-all-end-all super writer. No one is. The words ‘the end’ on your manuscript may signal the end of your perspiration in writing the story, but once you actually manage to find a house that is willing to publish it you are going to meet a new monster--your editor. That person is going to go through your manuscript and quite possibly tear it apart. You are EXPECTED to do the revisions. The editor will not do it for you.

Thankfully that are a great many fantastic authors out there, who even the first time they are published understand this principle. They are very serious about what they do, and want the best product going out with their name on it. Believe it or not, that’s what the editor wants too.

There isn’t a writer in the world that doesn’t need a good editor. The degrees of editing necessary may very well vary. I’ve had some pieces that required very little work, and some that required major overhauls. You are required to actually do the work the editor suggests (we try not to actually demand it until you start digging in your heels and saying, but I’m an ARTIST).

Even before I became an editor I had writer friends who received offers only to be shocked that it would take a year, sometimes more, before their work was scheduled for release. Surprise. It takes that long just for the regular run-of-the-mill things, and if there are snags along the way, it may very well take longer.

There is a lot of work between the words ‘the end’ and seeing your finished novel published. Unless your name is a regular on the NYT bestseller list, don’t plan on playing the Prima Donna, roll up your sleeves and get ready to work.

More on the world of marketing, and promotion after ‘the end’ tomorrow.


Bernita said...

Hey, hey.
Please back-up and tell us some of the things editors zero in on.

Erik Ivan James said...

Lot's of hard work in all things. That's what it takes. Well said, Tami.

Yeah, definitely, what Bernita requested.

MissWrite said...

Okay, I promise to do that next, then I'll go on with the promo part.

Anonymous said...

As one of your new victims, I know exactly what you mean.
On the other hand, a teacher taught me not to take it personally with editors. The editor is actually a tragic figure, improving the author's work but getting none of the kudos.
After all, it is the author's name whose going the be in the by-line.

Anonymous said...
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MissWrite said...

Oh, Jose, ouch. LOL. You evil child you. Where's my whip?