Tools For Tuesday – Editor 2.0

pic of Frank Wilson courtesy of Vol 1 Brooklyn Blog

Is modern fiction just not up to scratch? The question, asked as part of a BBC article, is aimed squarely at the proliferation of ebooks as a result of the explosion of the self-pub market. Editing, as both an art of helping the writer deliver a damn good story and as a critical step to helping the story have a grammatically correct skeleton, has been relegated from the shotgun position in the writer’s four door sedan to the backseat, stuffed in the middle between Facebook marketing and e-formatting requirements. Ouch.

In a recent WSJ magazine article, literary superagent Andrew “The Jackal” Wylie talks about the importance of an editor. Here’s just a sample of his take on the subject:

“The devaluation of quality editing and writing is sad and it’s inevitable. Each house has a large number of titles to publish, and with a difficult economy, fewer people to handle the publications. But publishers need to become smaller, leaner, and they will have to learn new disciplines. The whole one-year publication process must be reduced.”
 
” Sure, writers these days can go directly to readers, without publishers or agents. But there needs to be a chain of people who have authority and can help convey what is essential. We spend most of our time strongly supporting work that we believe is significant.

 
In the e-revolution sweeping through the publishing world, especially in the self-pub kingdom, many writers are in fact editing their works themselves or getting Auntie Pearl or an English grad student from the local community college to edit their manuscripts. That’s a bad idea. It’s like putting all this work into building your dream house only to not have it checked off by the official city building inspector to make sure everything’s compliant before it’s done. And, you know where this is going…before you get to park the Family Truckster in the garage, the inspector comes at you with 56 red tags and deems your new dwelling uninhabitable.
 
Quality editors are necessary. There is a strong market out there for quality editors. The price they will quote you to edit your 400 page opus will not be cheap, we are talking in the low thousands here. But, think of it as an investment. Once you work with one of these editors, you will begin to see your writing in a whole new way. You will see your strengths, you will see your weaknesses. Your writing will get better, and in this world of publishing books where you’re only as good as the last one you published, getting better with each book is huge.  A quality editor is perhaps the most important “tool” you can use. If I may, I’ll recommend mine here: Mark Graham of Mark Graham Communications. He lives in Denver, I live in Dallas. We did everything over the phone and email. He helped me tremendously. He helped me, in a word, be “better.” And, dear writers, editing your baby is up to you. Like Wylie stated about the publishers, there are “fewer people to handle the publications.” So, when your number’s called and it’s time to send in your manuscript, why offer a lump of coal? Why not give them the diamond from it?
 
What are your thoughts on the importance of editors these days? Is there an “app” for them? Are they still worth their weight in gold? To the keyboards!  

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Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose first non-fiction proposal just went out for consideration to a few NY houses! Fingers crossed! The Brink is my latest fiction offering and here’s what some folks are saying about it:

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“He’s the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

The Brink is now available as an eBook for Amazon.com Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99! Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at http://www.markfadden.com

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