Friday, June 13, 2014

Editor Interview with Jaclyn Ann Lee

Jaclyn Ann Lee was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2007 she graduated from the University of Cincinnati with an Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Social Sciences and Humanities. Currently she is enrolling in Southern New Hampshire University where she plans to complete her Bachelor's Degree in English and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Jaclyn has been deeply passionate about literature her entire life and recently found the courage to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an author and an editor. Her name and face are still fresh to the industry but she has been received with high regard by her fellow industry professionals and those who have chosen to work with the new editor. She is working as a freelance editor, with two completed professional jobs and many more booked for the upcoming months. Her developing Indie company, Darling Willow Creative, is currently in the works and will be used as the label under which she publishes her own work, as well as offers her freelancing services.

What type of stories do you most enjoy editing?
I am not biased when it comes to the type of story I edit, provided I do not find the harmful to the public or it does not go against my personal morality. I love all genres of literature, for each have their own charm and appeal characteristic of the style. As I reader, again I do not have a preference, though I do tend to favor fantasy, horror, and classical literature.

Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor?
I am a freelance editor currently, working from my own rates and guidelines. Someday it may be nice to be a part of a company, but for now I am happy with the position that I am in. I do, however, work for an online literary magazine, The Oddville Press, as a volunteer editor. I love it! 

What book are you most proud of having edited?
As of this interview I have completed two professional novel edits (with more booked), and while I cherish each and every one of the authors I work with equally, I am proud of the first job I obtained. After reaching out to the good people on the public forums of Good Reads, a new author approached me with the opportunity to edit her debut novel. I am incredibly grateful for the chance she took with me, as she only had my passionate self-description and desperate pleading to use as reference. I enjoyed my first experience immensely! She is a fabulous person and author, and if it were not for her kind words I would not be experiencing the overwhelming success I am today.

What does your editing process look like from start to finish?
When I begin editing a manuscript I insist on doing a read through first so I can gain a better understanding of the author and the story he or she has bled from their heart and souls to share with literature enthusiasts. I believe that you have to understand the author, the plot, and the characters (if a fiction piece) to be able to deliver a successfully edited manuscript. I discuss what kind of editing the author would like, whether it's basic proofing or detailed line-by-line editing, the turnaround time they hope to have the edits received, address any concerns or questions, and do what I can to earn their trust and prove that I am qualified to edit their piece. I offer sample edits at the beginning so they may see how I work. It's important that I establish some sort of relationship with my clients, so they do not feel that they are just another job. They are more than a job to me. Once I understand the needs of the author and their story, and once I have delivered a satisfactory sample edit, I use Microsoft Word tracker so they can see a side-by-side comparison of what changes I suggest. I add side notes to many of the edits so they understand why I have suggested the change, and often tell them the phrases I love, my feelings on a particular passage (good or bad), and offer more than just a critical analysis. As a reader I like to point out more than just the mistakes; I like to point out the things that I enjoy. Once I have finished the edits I deliver them to my client and ask that they take the time to read through what I have done and let me know if there is anything there are not happy with. I try to do a final read through to make sure everything is sound for publication.

Are you rates affordable for Indie authors?
Absolutely! At this point in my career I am looking to build a reputation through a list of clients who enjoy working with me. My credibility is more important than breaking anyone's bank. My authors will tell you that I work hard to find a price that works for them. I do have set rates, but I am always willing to negotiate. I will not turn away an author simply for monetary reasons.

How do you decide your pricing? 
I base my pricing off of the type of editing requested, as well as the length of time it takes for me to complete the editing process. I wish to offer the best edits at competitive pricing and therefore will always discuss what the author is able to pay.

What are some of the typical mistakes you see writers make?
Punctuation, run-on sentences, confusion of tense, and passive voice seem to be the most common mistakes. I often find that while authors know what they want to convey in their minds, it doesn't always translate to paper. That's where I come in! Some authors know what they want to say but they aren't sure how to say it. I also find what I call "phantom objects", which are items used in the scene that seem to come out of nowhere.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
Believe in yourself and your ability. If you aren't going to believe in yourself, who else will? Don't take no for an answer and don't allow anyone to make you feel as though you can't be successful in the industry. If writing is what you are truly passionate about, NEVER give up! Passion is the most important ingredient in the recipe for success in the industry. Every book you write may not be a best seller, but that doesn't mean it's not exceptional in it's own way. When you aim I write a novel, write about things that you are interested in. Indifference regarding a subject matter comes across clearly to a reader if an author is writing just for the sake of writing. Write for yourself, and write from the heart.

What do you think makes a good editor?
A good editor will have excellent punctuation, grammar, spelling, obviously. It couldn't hurt if the editor is a writer as well, or perhaps even an avid reader. That makes the editing more enjoyable and more personal than someone that is simply looking to make a quick buck and who happens to be skilled with grammar. Above all things an editor should listen to their author and consider their feelings above all other things. Listen to your client, address any concerns or desires they may have. Get to know the author as a person and offer yourself for open communication whenever they may need to contact you about anything. Never try to change an author's writing style and when you suggest changes do so because it is what is best for the author and the book--not for you. Always keep your client and their feelings in mind. Don't think of the author as simply someone to make money off of. They trust you with the manuscript that they have poured their heart and soul into and often their writing feels like their children. They wouldn't trust their children with just anyone, and so it's your job to take good care of their precious words.

When you're not editing what do you like to do?
When I am not editing I am usually writing or reading. My desire to be a part of this industry stems from my love of literature, and therefore I immerse myself within the world as much as possible. I also love music and movies (especially Old Hollywood classics). I'm a pretty big nerd so I love video games, science fiction, and astronomy. I am currently learning about table-top gaming, which I find incredibly interesting! I enjoy cooking and baking, being active outdoors, and visiting museums and local hotspots. I love football and baseball (go Cincinnati!!!).

You can find the two novels I have edited on Amazon for download, and I highly recommend them to anyone! I endorse these books not just because I worked on them, but because I believe in them and the author.
Look for the debut novel, "Root Song", part of the Natural Wonders Saga by Anna Edwards.
and "Speak Tenderly to her" by Ruth E. Griffin.
Also stayed tuned for the publication of "Death of Winter", written by talented new author Lori-Anne Sparks, set to be released in August. 
Twitter- @jaclynalee
Personal website- Currently developing 

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