Monday, July 8, 2013

Tweaks -- Understanding Your Editor's Revision Letter

I turned a book into my editor at the end of June and last week I got the "letter" telling me what they wanted to be fixed.

Now... The letter was four pages long so when I saw it, I panicked and was sure they wanted the book to be totally rewritten. Not so, she told me ten minutes later when she called to chat abut what she wanted to see. All they wanted was "beefing" up of existing emotion.


When you hear a story like this, from an author who's written/published 54 books, it probably makes your blood run cold. If a 50+ book author could totally misread a revision/tweak letter...what about the rest of us?

Well, rest easy. Here are Susan Meier's guidelines for reading a revision/tweak letter. (Which she should have followed herself last Tuesday.)

1. Don't panic. Seriously. Don't print the bugger out and see four pages and think, "Holy Shasta soda. That's a lotta fixes!"
2. Actually read the letter.
3. Read it in bites. Had my editor not immediately called me, I would have read the first page the day I got the email, pages 2 and 3 the next day and page four the day after that. Yeah, that uses a lot of your revision time. But so does stomping around the house or hyperventilating. LOL And taken in bites anything looks more realistic/manageable.
4. Get clarification. If you read it and it makes you hyperventilate to think of all the the editor. I've been with Harlequin long enough now (and they are accustomed to my odd sense of humor) so I can call and say, "Holy you want the whole book rewritten?" But even if you're a newbie, they are happy to discuss what they want. Editors ALWAYS have the best interests of the book at heart. Go into the discussion knowing they want your book to be the best it can be and things will go a lot smoother.
5. Follow up your clarification with an email. i.e. ... "It was nice to talk to you on Tuesday. So glad you only want the emotion beefed up and not a total rewrite. LOL The way I understand it, you simply want me to highlight Tucker's background, strengthening his motivation, and Olivia's responses to Tucker to be more in line with her background."

After that, print out a copy of your manuscript. If you don't do a storyboard (as I do where I write the current book scenes in blue ink and the additional scenes or scene changes in red ink) then you can write directly on your manuscript...and then read it through with your changes before you actually input them into your document. BTW, SAVE the document as it was when you sent it to your editor and save the new version as NEW VERSION or REVISIONS 7/2/13.

Revisions/tweaks don't have to be a reason to drink three margaritas (though...who really needs a reason for a margarita on a hot day?). Revisions can be a simple, manageable process as long as you take your time and remember the editor ALWAYS has the best interest of your book in mind.

Happy Monday

susan meier

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Fabulous advice. Thanks so much. I've just discovered your blog from a prompt by Kate Hardy on her Facebook page. I'll look forward to reading your blogs posts every Monday as well as "catching up" on some of your older ones. Caroline x