Well, the butterflies in my stomach seem to be getting the world’s toughest workout. They’re in a constant cycle alternating between wild fluttering and abrupt calm that swirls back to maniacal flipping. I thought maybe it would stop after publicly announcing the October 3rd release date of Eva’s first book.
It did stop for about twenty minutes. Then the realization that October 3rd is nine months away and I have A LOT of work to do between now and then hit me which ramped those little abdominal flutters back into high gear.
The first two things I’ve looked at are finding an editor and finding a cover artist. My book needs to be in pristine shape before it can go out for anyone other than my critique partners to see. And once it’s in optimal shape, it needs to be dressed up as pretty as possible so that it can attract a date, I mean a reader or two or three thousand, million, billion. (Note: it’s always important to think optimistically.)
I’ve accomplished one of those two things. I’ve hired an editor, actually two. I thought for today’s post I’d talk a little bit about how I found mine and the graciousness of romance writers. Next week we’ll discuss the progress I’m making on the cover artist. And hopefully, the week after that we’ll discuss marketing strategies.
If you’re a member of RWA, which many romance writers and aspiring romance authors are, you probably belong to a chapter or two- or in my case — four. This means you have lots and lots of connections within the writing industry, lots of writers who not only can, but want to share what they’ve learned in an effort to help you succeed.
I put out on the loops that I was searching for an editor and asked for recommendations. The responses came pouring in. My writing friends and peers had lists, spreadsheets, names, contact info, pricing, suggestions, ideas, referrals and tips on who could do what type of editing best. Many of them were strong supporters of the editor they recommended, even going so far to say they’d have never been published if not for that particular editor.
It was amazing! No need to search the internet and worry about connecting with a complete stranger who didn’t care a lick about working with me. I had connections. And I used them.
Next on to vetting. An editor needs to be 100% behind your project or they aren’t going to be able to help you polish your draft into perfect. You want to know that you’re hiring someone not only well-qualified, but committed to you and your baby. This means you have to review their work, ask some questions, share some info, and make decisions about who will work best with you.
I used the info I had to review books I knew had been worked on by editors referred to me. Then I emailed a small number of editors, the ones who’d worked on projects for writers I knew, and let them know how I’d heard of them, what my timeline was, what I needed, and gave them a brief description of my project. I asked if they’d be interested in hearing more and if they said yes, I asked for names of other books they’d worked on and the names and contact info of other writers I could speak to about their work.
I contacted those writers and asked about the process they’d had with the editors, the editor’s reliability, whether or not the writers would work with that editor again — your basic reference check.
I selected two editors. One is slated to work on my book in the next couple weeks for the bulk of the editing- content, etc and one will proofread after edits are made. I’m thrilled to work with both Judy Roth and Jane Haertel, members of CTRWA. I have complete faith that these two ladies will help me polish this book to perfection!
If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to share what I’ve learned to help another writer. And remember, just because someone looks good in glasses doesn’t mean he’ll make a great editor!