This month, I wanted to do something a little different. I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts as a professional writer, editor, and publisher. After all, the point of Julie’s Jewels is for my readers to get to know me better, and I cannot think of anything more personal than my writing.

Being a publisher, I understand that my name is my brand and how important that is. More so, my business partner, Sahara Foley, and I want to be associated with quality, so we spend a lot of time and money to ensure we have the best products available to our readers. We welcome feedback and will update manuscripts to ensure corrections are made.

Note: errors will always get through no matter how intensive one’s QC checks are (which Norns Triad’s are). Not to mention, you could have a manuscript 100% perfect by one standard, but it would fall short by another (depending on the standard you are using).

As a writer, I take what I do very seriously. So much so that I’ve pulled down most of my books to rework them. I have grown as an author and it reflects in my style. I understand this is a natural progression meant to happen, but if I have the means to make my products better, why wouldn’t I, especially when I am selling them to consumers? Besides, my work not only represents me as an author, but also, it showcases my skills as an editor. If I don’t care about my own work, how can I expect potential clients to trust I will care about theirs?

Being an editor becomes tricky, and that is what I want to focus on. See, when you edit, you are being hired to work on someone else’s art. That means you need to walk the fine line of interjecting your editing style with their style and voice. And, yes, there is a style to editing, which is why you need to trust your editor. Also, there are different types (or levels) of editing, so you need to be clear what type is being provided.

When you edit for someone, some of the things to consider are: the level of editing hired for, the author’s preferences (do they prefer an Oxford comma or not), what is their origin (affects which spelling standards they use, such as UK or US as well as colloquialisms), character origins (affects dialogue), where the story takes place, etc. I tend to do mainly developmental and content editing. That means I not only take all this into consideration, but I have to be certain the facts used are accurate to boot.

Remember I said it gets tricky? Well, here’s why – ultimately, final decisions, especially in the Indie, small press, and hybrid world of publishing, is up to the AUTHOR. So, when readers grab ahold of a book that is poorly edited, the first question we used to ask – What happened to their editor? – doesn’t really apply. That is difficult because the instinct is to always blame the editor, though they may have offered great advice that was disregarded by either the author, or, in some cases, the publisher. Assuming they’ve opted to use an editor at all.

This misplaced blame can unfortunately lead to loss of work for editors because they can get a bad name (sometimes without even knowing it is happening – as the article below shows). It might limit an editor’s availability. For example, I don’t openly market my skills and I am very cautious about who I work with since it is my brand/name being associated with the projects I take on. There are even cases when editor’s will request not to be listed at all, and they don’t get recognized for their work – perhaps because their suggestions were ignored and the final version of the book isn’t up to their standards.

Something to consider: When you are publishing and selling a book to consumers, you are also the commodity – your name and brand. In addition, so are your publisher, editor, illustrator… anyone associated with the project. That means YOU ALL have a stake in the final product. It should be a group decision to ensure the best quality item reaches the reader.

Actual statements I have had made to me:

When I pointed out that a character removed their pants on page 1 and then took them off again on page 2, the writer said: “Oh, well. That’s not my problem. The editor should have caught that.”
FYI – there was no editor for this book.

When a scheduled client never sent me the agreed upon manuscript: “Oh, I didn’t have time to have it both edited and reviewed, so I sent it to Kirkus Reviews instead. I’d love your feedback when you read it though.”

When I suggested proper punctuation: “I’m not feeling it.”
The writer deleted the punctuation suggested.

When I suggested proper punctuation: “I don’t like using those.”
The writer deleted the punctuation suggested.

Author: This is how I like to say it.
Me (editor): That is great, but how would the character say it?

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