These days, I hold writers’ hearts in my hands on a daily basis. And I’d love to make everyone’s dreams come true. But I can’t. I understand now why editors are so picky. I have editorial deadlines to meet, which allows a limited amount of time to spend on each book. If a book will take more time than I have to give to it, I have to say no. Recently, I sent three rejections in one day. This hurts my heart. I know how badly hopeful writers want validation – to know they’re on the right track, they’re doing something right, and the time and energy they put into words is worth it and means something. To achieve publication, to hold their books in their hands, to have readers love the story they plucked out of their hearts and brains and spilled into their keyboards. But alas, I had to crush their dreams.
Back when I was getting rejections left and right, I longed for just one editor to tell me why, what I was doing wrong, and what I was doing right. So, I vowed to myself when I signed on as an editor, to help the writers I send rejection e-mails. I give them tips, tell them what to work on, and what they’re doing well on. It takes more time and my submissions inbox got bogged down partly because of my lengthy, informative, and time-consuming e-mails. But I hope those writers will learn from my coaching and improve their craft, so that one day, I’ll be able to say yes.
Speaking of yes, I get to do that too. Several authors came with the company and I’ve gotten the pleasure of accepting and contracting several new manuscripts from them. Recently, a manuscript from a debut author landed in my inbox that knocked my socks off. Every writer dreams of The Call. The one where an editor calls to tell you they love your book and are dying to contract and publish it. By the time I got The Call, it was an e-mail. Which was still great, but I decided to call our potential author. I think I was as excited as she was. And yes, she signed with us.
Thankfully, my husband gave me an early Christmas gift this year that has helped me get on top of my inbox, a tablet. I had one of the first e-readers, but after a while, it wouldn’t stay charged. I got a supercheap model with very little storage capacity to replace it and used it mainly to play Angry Birds. I like print books. The only e-books I’ve ever bought were the ones by my favorite authors that only come in digital format. And somehow, I don’t feel like I really own these books because they don’t line up on my bookcase with the rest of my favorites. But for editing, my new tablet is the bomb. I can read submissions anywhere now, in bed before I go to sleep, at the doctor’s office, waiting in the car while my husband is in a store that bores me. For the first time since July, I’m caught up on my inbox. Yay. Now, I can coach more writers and make more author’s dreams come true.
Making life-changing decisions about what will go into print and what won’t, got me thinking about how easy it is to get books published these days. Anyone can publish their book. The bad thing about this, many writers don’t study the craft or hire an editor to mold their book into a great read that will keep the pages turning. As a result, some of those efforts give self-publishing and even publishing in general, a bad name. Readers don’t know if they’re getting a well-written book by an author who spent years honing their craft, then took the time and expense to get it well-edited. Or if the author took a short-cut to publication. As a result, some readers are gun-shy about investing in self-published titles or trying new authors. Fortunately, Kindle Unlimited is a great way to try new authors and books.
All of this got me curious. What makes you stop reading a book? If you don’t enjoy it, do you keep reading and finish? Or do you stop and start a new book? If you read one book by an author and don’t like it, do you try another title by the same author? Do you like digital or print? Are you a Kindle Unlimited member? Answer as many questions as you want and give this editor some useful feedback for a chance to win a print copy of my February release, A Texas Bond. Deadline: Jan 7th. And just for fun, here’s my current jigsaw puzzle in progress. I’m still puzzling during editing and writing breaks. It gives my word-bogged brain rest.