Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In Praise of Editors

I tend to bitch a lot. I'm sure you all haven't noticed, right?
Okay, fine. Still, today I'm not going to complain at all. Promise.

In fact, I want to praise praise praise, the one individual in the traditional, publishing process that I believe is not only absolutely essential, but worth at least twice their weight in gold.
Even if you take the road to self-publishing, let me recommend wholeheartedly that you acquaint yourself with at least one good editor. Maybe two.

Here's why. Your manuscript is ugly. Even if you're the reincarnation of Hemingway, it is.
Don't shake your head at me, I'm not kidding. Even if you've edited it twenty times at least, used fifteen beta readers that don't know you and who are grammar Nazis and very very picky. It's homely as hell. It's not professional yet. I guarantee it.

So, you send it out and it becomes, a gangly stray puppy. You know the one, it has fleas....and ticks. Worms and mange and it shivers. One of its front teeth sticks out and the thing snorts and piddles when you look at it.
Is that a strong enough visual? Okay.
So you send this puppy to the pound. (Okay, first off, shame on you, but this it metaphor, so we're okay) By the pound, I mean slush. It's tossed into a slurry of other puppies, all equally hideous and all just as desperate for a home.

Now, you might think. "I'm screwed!"
Go ahead, think it.
I never said this business was easy. You're screwed, but you're determined. You keep sending that dog out, even when it comes dragging its behind home again and again and again.

Don't worry about him. I write romance--which pretty much guarantees him a happily ever after ending. :)

Eventually some soft-hearted soul plucks your puppy from the rubbage heap. This angel sees the big, shiny puppy eyes, the wagging tail, and interprets them as potential. I know, I know, but it's my metaphor here.
They give it a bath, flea dip, maybe a shave or groom, and they take it to the dentist for major oral surgery (which isn't cheap or easy--see... nice huh?)
Anyway, the end result is a different puppy. A fluffy, shiny, non piddling puppy that people can't help but pick up and cuddle.

Ha ha! See. Happy ending.
I love editors. Even when they make me cry.
Which isn't very often, I promise.

Don't ever think you can get away with skipping out on that particular step. It matters.
Your puppy deserves a flea dip.

And today one of my fabulous editors, whom I owe more to than I can ever tell you in a blog, (It would require chocolate, coffee, and probably tissue) had posted my guest spot on her blog. If you'd like to Check it Out.

She's also giving away a copy of Moth on Goodreads.com

Now, go hug your dog!
~Frances

6 comments:

Skyla Dawn said...

I LOVE your gangly unwanted puppy metaphor LOL. I think "Your puppy deserves a flea dip" should be on posters.

Susan Wells Bennett said...

I'm from West of Mars, and I love your metaphor! Have a great weekend!

Jaleta Clegg said...

I'm from West of Mars today. I love the metaphor. Editors are worth every penny, even when they make you cry.

michaelradcliffe said...

Hi I'm from West of Mars today too. Enjoyed the metaphor!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I have two neat people in my life who are professional editors. I'm always glad to pass their names along.

Thanks for playing the weekend hangout! I hope you'll join us again in the future.

M Pax said...

Great analogy.