Kate SeRine (pronounced “serene”) faithfully watched weekend monster movie marathons while growing up, each week hoping that maybe this time the creature du jour would get the girl. But every week she was disappointed. So when she began writing her own stories, Kate vowed that her characters would always have a happily ever after. And, thus, her love for paranormal romance was born.
Once upon a time, I worked in the publishing industry, serving in various positions from proofreader to indexer to editor. And yet it was still a little strange for me when I received a contract for my Transplanted Tales series and got to see the publishing industry from the other side. So, having looked at publishing from both sides now (to mangle the lyrics of Joni Mitchell), I thought I’d share a few lessons I’ve learned from my experiences.
1) Get over yourself. Your mother may think you walk on water, but you don’t. And your book isn’t perfect. We might as well get that one out there right now. I know this is a hard one to swallow when you’ve spent weeks, months, maybe even years, polishing your manuscript to make it the best it can possibly be. I’ve been there. But take heart—not even the best writers have mastered perfection. So check the ego at the door and don’t be a diva. You just might learn a thing or two.
2) Accept criticism gracefully. Having your work picked apart is never easy, no matter how professional and constructive the criticism, but it’s part of the process. So accept what is said with a measure of graciousness, sift through the comments, and reply respectfully, especially if you disagree. Here’s why: The publishing industry is smaller than you think. Be the author who’s talked about at networking luncheons because you’re so amazing to work with. Don’t be the one they talk about because you’re an a**hole.
3) Pick your battles. A good editor can look at your manuscript from a completely different perspective—often through a lens of experience and market knowledge that you lack—and offer you suggestions for how to make your writing stronger and your story tighter. THEY ARE THERE TO HELP YOU!
But guess what—just because your editor makes a suggestion, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow it. After all, editing, like many other aspects of this business, can be subjective. But for the love of all that’s holy, don’t argue against every single change! That’s not only annoying, it’s insulting. If there’s a missing comma and adding one doesn’t fundamentally change the meaning of the sentence, accept the change and move on. When in doubt, refer back to points 1 and 2.
4) Communicate effectively. You know your characters better than anyone, so you might have a really good reason to keep something the way it is. For example, if the editor suggests a character should say “y’all” but you know that in the region in which your story is set they say “you all,” just explain that. I think you’ll find that most editors aren’t soulless harpies out to beat you down and destroy your self-esteem. Okay, maybe some are. But, generally speaking, editors are reasonable people who have the same goal you do—to make the work the best it can possibly be.
5) Meet your deadlines. You only have a certain amount of time to turn around your edits. Sometimes that’s a few weeks, sometimes it’s a few days. Sure, life happens and totally screws up your timeline; just do whatever you can to meet your deadlines. Your editors (and everyone else on the production team) will love you for it. Trust me.
Be nice. Yeah, I know—you’re probably looking around for rainbows, sunshine, and pretty pink ponies right about now. But you’d be amazed how many people forget this one. Here’s the thing: Editors take pride in their work just as much as you do. A little compliment to tell them they made a nice catch or did a fabulous job helping you nail a particular scene is much appreciated. I can tell you, editing is sometimes a thankless job. Mostly because of those authors who are ego-trippers, divas, or a**holes. So give ’em a break now and then.
Good luck—and happy writing!
Find Kate at:
RED (Transplanted Tales #1) was released in August 2012
THE BETTER TO SEE YOU (Transplanted Tales #2) was released in February 2013
ALONG CAME A SPIDER (Transplanted Tales #3) is scheduled for release August 2013