E. A. Fournier
Sending My Manuscript to an Editor
I sent my manuscript off this afternoon.
Over two years of work, lots of research, native experts input, multiple revisions, beta readers and now I just sent my 120,000 word manuscript off to a content editor in California. Why there? Aren't there editors closer to home? (I live in Minnesota.) Yes, well, my publisher strongly recommended this editor. That's why.
Every serious writer does it, I'm told. They all have editors - just read the acknowledgements in most novels, there's always an editor in there somewhere that they feel indebted to. No one can edit their own book. You can't see what's not working. You won't cut the right stuff. You won't edit out your "darlings," your "daisies." Okay, okay. I get it. I'm doing it. I understand the theory.
So I looked the editor up. She sounds great. She has an excellent reputation, has been editing professionally for two decades, is a best-selling author with over twenty books carrying her name, teaches workshops at writing conferences, etc. We exchanged some polite emails and worked out our dates and prices. She's busy but accommodating. A wonderful choice. A true writing professional.
So, why am I so nervous now that my manuscript is on its way? I guess because my book and its characters will be totally on their own, like sons or daughters off to college, or filing their own taxes, or beginning their married lives. I won't be there to field questions while she reads, and I'm paying her to be brutally honest.
My pragmatic side pretends not to care. "Hey, she'll either like your story or she won't. She'll either see big problems with the voice, the tension, the character development, the plot, the climax, the beginning, the middle, the end, the denouement and send you back to the drawing board and down a thousand rabbit holes, or she won't."
He scowls at me, "Besides, just 'cause you're payin' her doesn't mean you hafta listen."
My optimistic side cares too much. "Maybe she'll call me," he says, "and say that in twenty years of editing she's never had a book that so completely enthralled her. Maybe she'll refund my money because there's nothing she dares to change."
He clasps his hands together and lets his eyes roll upwards, "She might really love it, you know. Other people have."
I sent it off this afternoon because I can't stand to see it sitting here on my desk, like a sullen prisoner in a holding cell. It'll arrive two weeks before the editor wants it. I don't care. At least it's out of my sight now.
All I can guarantee is that June is going to be a long month.