Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Importance of a GOOD Editor

AuthorConfession #35
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I make friends on Twitter or other places with other authors who self-publish. There is a risk involved with this. Not like a stalkery kind of risk that they take over your identity or rob your house, but all self-published authors have to make a decision about editing, to do it themselves, or to get someone else to do it. As a writer, I want to support them, but when their published book downright NEEDS a real editor and is very hard to read from the first paragraph, I cannot honestly support their work.

Beta readers who are HONEST and authors who can take CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM are essential to this process. Nothing kills your fans like a product that doesn't live up to all your hype. "Buy my book! Here's a sneak peek!" and the sneak peek sucks because the author didn't get anyone good to read it; that's a real bummer.

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It's like a bad blind date.

If the character is human, then not human, then magical, then can see behind their head, then I'm inside their head, but their thoughts would be better explained by an omniscient narrator, but the author prefers paragraphs of italics filled with questions that are telling and not showing the reader...INHALE, then I'm not going to read past the first page. I'm certainly not going to buy it.

I'm gonna leave before the main course by sneaking out the bathroom window.

Not that my own works are all quality. All of my free stuff hasn't been edited by a GOOD editor. As I learn, I go back and edit myself. I'm much better now than 10 years ago. I republished and updated two old works this summer. I am not immune to mistakes.

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Unedited authors learn slower. Join Critique Circle and help authors learn. If you are writing and need beta readers, join Critique Circle.

Pay for an editor if you can. Don't let your friends edit your works who don't read a lot, or don't write as much as you do. They will think you are a god or goddess of the typewriter and will only tell you you are awesome and never tell you that you suck.

David Lodge says he doesn't listen to academic criticism, "designed to exert the critic’s mastery over the text." Yeah, you don't HAVE to listen to all critics, but you DO have to listen to some of them. You are not superior to all others, but you do have the right to not listen to them and to not change parts of your story that you feel work, or bring your books to the 21st century, or whatever you tell yourself. Don't let them kill your voice. But do let them help you grow.
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Compromise with yourself and your critics.


Lastly, I made up that Author Confessions number. Perhaps I should edit it and make it number 1 and do a series...  I realize that the hashtag author confession is a real thing with a calendar of topics for the month. Yeah, I'm not part of that. This is just me and my thoughts.
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