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Elegant proof that not all book opinions are equal

Updated on July 23, 2011

on the bookshelf


Recently, I parted ways unceremoniously with two aspiring authors who could not accept that I would not have my integrity compromised. I did not want to write another publisher vs. author story because it has been beaten to the ground. However, some observations have made me ponder whether I am in the minority.

Many writers in search of the revered title of “Published Author” or “Publisher” have some notion that creativity should supersede knowledge when publishing a book. I believe you should be creative and know a little about the industry. Like anything else, there are certain expectations with any title you carry. When you go to a restaurant, there is an expectation that the Chef knows how to cook. Your evaluation of the food is not the first decision; chefs get the requisite training before claiming that title. Why should it be any different where writing a book is concerned? It is not enough to say, “That’s why we have editors.”

Is this “much ado about nothing?”I was at a weblog where the writer was selling her book, and addressed the audience by stating she didn’t want to do anything as “fancy” as using an editor for her book. She had her own method of keeping it “simple” with friends and spell check as the final proofing before printing. I know what my reaction would be if I was a potential buyer. We are fully aware of the vicissitudes of the publishing and authoring relationship, but some things remain standard. You may be a story virtuoso with a manuscript that takes all the fun out of reading. Why wouldn’t you care how you are perceived as an author?

Another trite excuse for not using an editor is the writer with the friend who has a Doctorate in Psychology or a co-worker who can spell. They will edit the storybook, but will they be using the Chicago Manual of Style or the A.P.A. guidelines? Be serious! Your first question should not be about the top bookstores, but about a quality book. Educate yourself about the industry and get to know about the waters in which you swim. Don’t let your lack of research make you feel as if you are being disadvantaged. Don’t let your manuscript be literal instead of literature.

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      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Wonderful information. Some of us writers seem to think that the only thing an editor does is check for grammatical errors. They have no idea that editors assist with outline and editing unnecessary stuff...well what do I know!

      Thanks for the info.

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      september girl 

      6 years ago

      Good advice, I should think. Research seems a big part of the key to success. I would want an editor, because they are trained to catch mistakes I or a friend might not otherwise see. Voted up and useful! : )

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