Monday, June 11, 2007

It Takes a Village . . .

When Hilary Clinton talked about needing a village she was talking about raising children. I’m talking about “raising authors.” I truly believe that to build a successful writing career it takes a village. This was never more clear to me than recently when an editor included me on her revision letter to one of my clients. The author and I had already gone our rounds—she had made some revisions at my suggestion before sending her manuscript to the editor, but somehow I had missed the terrifically valid points this editor made.

And while my client was dismayed and terrified at first—it truly is going to take some seam ripping—I think in the end she’s thrilled (or at least I hope she is) that she has an editor who cares enough to ask her to rip the seams out. When I read the revision letter I agreed with everything this editor had said. It’s not that the book is bad or even marginal. In fact the book is quite good, but this editor thinks it can be even better, and so do I.

I think that between the comments I had made previously, the revisions requested by the editor, the brainstorming between the author, the editor, and me, and of course the author’s own amazing talent, she’s going to have a real winner on her hands. Or dare I say, we’ll have a real winner on our hands?

Selling books, finding an agent, and even editing are subjective, and while I try not to get overly involved in what is not my role (since the editor has the final say on when a book is ready) I know that sometimes multiple viewpoints can truly help make a work shine.

—Jessica

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