What type of stories do you most enjoy editing?
I have to say my first love is literary fiction, but I’ve also written over 30 books under various pseudonyms, all of them genre based, so I’m pretty well-acquainted with a whole range of styles and genres. I would have to say what I most enjoy are books that bump their genre up a notch and offer a different or unusual take on the formula.
What other books have you edited?
Literally hundreds. I come out of traditional publishing as a senior editor and acquisitions editor, so over the course of the past 25 years have worked with some great (and not so great) writers.
Do you work for a company or are you a freelance editor?
I have my own company, Village Green Press which offers a whole range of services for independent authors. I also publish a select number of titles but have to stress we are NOT a so-called vanity press! If something’s not right for us, I’ll do my best to help the author self-publish or otherwise find a home for their work.
What does your editing process look like from start to finish?
First, I do a read-through because it’s very difficult to just jump in and start editing “cold” without being familiar with the story. I make notes along the way or problems or discrepancies or simply places where the pacing lags or the narrative might be stronger. Then, depending on the level of editing the author has asked for I get down to the nuts and bolts; and finally offer a half hour consultation if there are any questions or problems.
Are your rates affordable for indie authors?
I certainly hope so. I don’t charge what an amateur editor would charge because I’m not an amateur, but at the same time, I try to be sensitive to an author’s needs and budget and give them the best bang I can for their buck!
How do you decide your pricing?
I use the Editorial Freelancer’s Association guide.
What are some of the typical mistakes you see writers make?
I did a funny blog post on that awhile back, but truly I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “typical” mistake. Every book is different and every writer is different. I have certain editorial pet peeves, of course. One is to include a scene or passage of dialogue that doesn’t do anything to move a story forward. Another is what I call the “disembodied body parts,” It is an unwritten rule of editorial thumb that unless you’ve authored some sort of zombie apocalypse, body parts should not react independently of the characters they’re attached to. “Her head swiveled at Alfonse’s entrance, as her chest heaved” might mean anything from torrid attraction to something out of “The Exorcist,” but unless we know the parts are indeed attached to the character in question, we have no way of discerning just what Milady’s reaction to Alfonse might consist of.
What should a writer expect (or not expect) out of an editor?
Because we live in a point-and-click world, many writers seem to feel that you can edit 100,000 words in 24 hours. I suppose it can be done, but that doesn’t mean it can be done well. Good editing is like good writing. It takes time, thought, and care.
What do you think makes a good editor?
Someone who really understands fiction craft and good writing. Someone who cares about the quality of your work as much as you do. Above all somebody who understands that it is not an editor’s job to change your story; it’s the editor’s job to help you tell it more effectively.
When you’re not editing what do you like to do?
Write, cook, read and garden.