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

News Release – Booked for Murder Book Club meets author of latest selection

Sept 21, 2010 – Lewisville, Texas – Once finishing a book, many readers would love the chance to ask the author questions about it. Members of the Booked for Murder Book Club at the Lewisville Library got that very chance when Colleyville author Mark Fadden attended their monthly meeting as they discussed his latest thriller, The Brink. “I probably wouldn’t have selected this book,” said Lana Bragg of Lewisville. “I normally don’t go for political thrillers. But I really enjoyed this book. It was very timely and suspenseful. The short chapters made the story really move.” While the rest of the club members had similar sentiments about the book, which follows a fugitive Texas Ranger as he helps a brilliant beauty running for her life, they also had some constructive criticism for Fadden. “While it would spoil the book to mention their exact comments, I can say that they had specific ideas about some of the characters, as well as some remarks on the mix of romance and action. Anytime that an author can get this kind of feedback from our readers, it’s priceless.”

The conversation about romance in thriller novels quickly sparked a thoughtful discussion about the future of books, which had nothing to do with the eBook versus traditional print books debate that is the current topic du jour of the publishing world. “Are male writers becoming extinct?” asked James Whittington of Flower Mound. “I’m an aspiring writer and all the writing magazines I read say that as a male writer, you can’t get published. I mean, look at us here. Besides the author, I’m the only man here.”

Debra Levesque of Lewisville, who read The Brink on her Kindle eBook reader, disagreed with Whittington. “The publishing industry has been a male dominated world since its inception. Women had to write under men’s names in order to get published for a long time. I read Memoirs of a Geisha and that was even written by a man. I think it’s just finally leveling out.”

Another topic that was brought up was about the fact that Texas cities aren’t well represented in the mystery/thriller genre. While Fadden uses locations from his native state as settings in his novels, he is well aware of the reason why Texas is often left out in the cold in mystery and thriller novels. “Chicago has the political machine, the mobs, and a gritty past. New York is New York; there are so many different avenues to use when you have New York as your location. Washington, D.C. is the heart of global power. Texas, and Dallas in particular, has gotten a bad rap as a gleaming place that’s only known for big hair and J.R. Ewing. Many writers think it doesn’t have that dark edginess that mysteries and thrillers need to move the story forward.”  

Kelly Brouillard, Adult Services Librarian was the moderator for the book club meeting. “It was great having Mark here. Not only did we have a lively discussion, but we had a large turnout, the most we’ve had ever for this group.” The Booked for Murder Book Club meets every third Tuesday of the month at 2:00pm at the Lewisville Library. For more information, contact Kelly Brouillard at (972) 219-3570, or visit http://library.cityoflewisville.com

The Brink is Fadden’s third novel and has won both his publisher’s Editor’s Choice and Rising Star Awards. He will be signing copies at the Lewisville Barnes & Noble book store on Sunday, Oct 10, from 2:00pm-4:00pm. His first novel, Five Days in Dallas, was published in 2003. It received critical acclaim and Fadden himself was even called a “masterful storyteller” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer. To preview The Brink, view his event schedule or read his blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media, visit http://www.markfadden.com.

 

The next economic crash subject of local author’s latest thriller

The Borders book store in Mesquite, Texas was the latest stop on local author Mark Fadden’s book tour. Fadden’s new novel, The Brink, uses the current financial crisis as the foundation of a lightening-fast thriller in which a fugitive Texas Ranger helps a woman running for her life, only to get sucked into a global financial conspiracy.

Although Fadden keeps a tight lip on the intricacies of the plot, he does shed light on the frightening, real-world numbers he uses in the story. “Over the many months I spent researching the international financial system, I discovered that it is a very fragile organism. Many experts predict that the next economic bubble waiting to burst is the federal government debt bubble. The US is $14 trillion in debt. We have a $1.5 trillion deficit. We need to borrow $2 billion each and every day from foreign countries like Japan and China just to keep the federal government running. For a writer, the basic question we ask ourselves is “What if?” So I asked, ‘What if China and Japan stopped their investments? The story just grew from there.”    

Borders Sales Manager Steve Schmidt was impressed with the turnout for the signing. “The event was a big success. Mr. Fadden was very engaging with our customers and talked with people the entire time he was here. It seemed people were very interested in the book’s timely topic.”

The Brink is Fadden’s third novel and is a continuation of his first novel, Five Days in Dallas. Published in 2003, Five Days in Dallas received critical acclaim and Fadden himself was even called a “masterful storyteller” by a Writer’s Digest reviewer. Fadden, who now lives in Colleyville, then began working on the follow-up in 2006, which eventually became The Brink.

The first 22 pages of The Brink can be read at markfadden.com.  Fadden has also created a blog about writing novels and book marketing using social media entitled “The Nightstand Diaries,” which can be read at markfadden.wordpress.com.