Has anyone seen my editor?

When I decided to self-publish and after reading some books on it I knew two things for sure. I needed to find an editor and I had to hire a cover artist. I decided to tackle the editor issue first. I did some research and asked around some. Finally I felt confident enough to email a woman who was recommended to me. I won’t reveal her name and I think my reason for doing so will become clear soon.

After sending the email I was surprised that the woman responded quickly, within a few hours. I thought that was a good sign. And the first thing she wrote was: congrats on finishing your first novel. I’ll admit it felt good to hear that. We exchanged emails for a couple of days. I’m a thinker and can’t rush into any decision. Also, I had the feeling she was figuring out if she could work with me. Some writers can be temperamental and not receptive to any type of criticism. I hope I’m not like that. I want to learn. That isn’t to say I embrace the editing process with a huge smile on my face. Now when I’m waiting for the editor to send a draft back I open my email with a hand over my eyes since I’m scared to see the result. But more on that later.

I decided to go with this editor and she accepted. Before we started to talk about money (never a fun subject) she asked to see the first three chapters of the novel so she could access how long it would take her and how much she would charge. So I sent the chapters and waited.

And waited. A day went by and no word. No worries I rationalized. I’m sure she needed time to read the chapters. Four days went by and nothing. After a week, I decided to follow up. Again I did not hear a thing.

Two weeks passed and I thought of two scenarios. One, my novel sent her screaming for the hills forcing her to live in a cave with bear cubs leaving civilization and editing forever. The second situation I contemplated was alien abduction. I’m leaning towards the second reason but I can’t get the image out of my mind of the woman screaming and babbling about dangling participles while forging in the mountains for berries.

Maybe she lives here now.

Maybe she lives here now.

Finally I had to accept the fact that I wouldn’t hear back from her. I should mention that I sincerely hope she is okay. In case you are wondering, the aliens have been kind enough to let her update her blog.

So what did I do? If you guessed that I wallowed in self-pity you’re right. For two days I was in a horrible mood. My partner tiptoed around me. On day three I got a talking to. We have a rule in our house. When something bad happens you have a grace period to feel sorry for yourself. Most of the time, depending on the situation, the period is short before the stern lecture happens. I’ve been on the receiving end and I have also been the voice of reason (shocking I know!).

My partner sat me down and said I needed to find another editor. One who was willing to work with me. Just sitting around and eating ice cream wasn’t helping me achieve my goal.

Once again I started researching editors as I ate gallon after gallon of ice cream.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast (lesbianswhowrite.com) with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (iheartlesfic.com), a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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51 Responses to Has anyone seen my editor?

  1. Awrgh. That is a bit crappy 😦 Surely she could have responded giving you some sort of reason for not taking this project on, rather than causing you all this anguish! Better a short, sharp blow of disappointment than prolonged agony!!!

    • TBM says:

      I agree. Just say it and end the misery. However, now I kinda laugh about it. Kinda. And I love sharp blow of disappointment–nice!

  2. waxnwings says:

    Your concern for the editor’s well-being is admirable. I’m more inclined to the ends of spurting profanities in such situations, although I do find it tends to get it all out in a single hyperbolic rant 🙂

  3. acuriousgal says:

    So sorry to hear this. Your partner is right though, put down that ice cream spoon and find another editor!

  4. sorry–but what a jerk! no excuse–you took it very well considering the rudeness

  5. Love the gallon after gallon of ice cream idea, and don’t worry about that editor. She’s going to be kicking herself when you become a bestselling author!! On a side note, when I recently went to hear some authors speak I learned something that really surprised me. They had all used major publishing companies and part of that process meant that they had no say in the cover art for their books. The publisher chose the cover art, and hopefully the author would like it. I didn’t realize that’s how it worked, but I think it should always be the author’s decision, at least partly anyway, with guidance from the publisher. You learn something new every day.

    • TBM says:

      I have heard that about the covers. I’ve also heard that even if the author has a say, they don’t provide the cover in time to make any changes. I have to wonder if big name authors have more of a say. Not sure I would want to upset Stephen King. He seems like a nice guy, but he has a dark side.

      • Ya, I’m pretty sure that if Stephen King said jump, the editor would ask how high :).

      • TBM says:

        I know I would. And I wouldn’t complain if he asked me to get him a cup of tea.

      • I can’t even imagine being face to face with him. I would probably be a blithering idiot, not able to put two words together. I have such amazing awe and respect for his writing! I often wonder what he would be like to talk to seeing as he writes some really messed up stuff. Do you think he’s normal or a little wacky? 🙂 Hey, by the way, get to the mystery photo would you!! It’s for you this week.

      • TBM says:

        I’m pretty much a blithering idiot on a normal basis so I don’t even want to imagine how incoherent I would become around the man. My guess is that he’s normal at least 40 percent of the time.

        And are you nagging me? I put my two cents in on the photo. I would like some change back please.

  6. Geoff W says:

    Eating ice cream ALWAYS helps you achieve your goal, just not necessarily in the time frame you should 😀 Also, I noted it in my response to the novel that I appreciated your editor and copyeditor, as those were one of my biggest fears of reading self-published novels.

    • TBM says:

      Trust me, I appreciated them as well. And a few bloggers were kind enough to read it before it went to press. It’s always funny to see the errors when someone points them out. Just yesterday I found out in the second novel I wrote: Free feel instead of feel free.

  7. Beth Ann says:

    Wow. No word? Nothing? That is bizarre and I would have probably first gone the route of “what the heck happened to her? ” and then would have quickly moved to anger and disgust. Hopefully no money had exchanged hands at that point (which I am thinking would have made it EVEN worse). I guess it is all part of the process, right? LIve and learn. The “grace period” you guys have with each other is a good thing—but then you eventually have to snap out of it and move on. I think that is a good way to approach just about every situation.

    • TBM says:

      Oh if money was exchanged I would have been hunting her down, aliens or no aliens. Yes, I have learned much from this process. And hopefully I keep learning since even though I’m getting the second one ready for publication it’s still all so new to me. It’s important to stop and have some time to process–but the danger is not snapping out of that time. We look out for each other and we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders.

  8. I think you’re being too kind to her. Why do people say they want to do something and then not deliver?

    • TBM says:

      Her loss in the long run. I ended up paying another editor and she has done two books for me know. And I’m hoping to have another one ready for her by January.

  9. Colline says:

    Not nice. If she did not want to work with you, she should have said. Anyway, it is better for that to have happened before anything started then to have her behave like that midway through your project.

  10. That sucks. I do the same thing as you. Ice cream, wallow, chocolate, wallow, and then time to find a new editor. My fingers are crossed for you.

    • TBM says:

      Thanks, Christine. Ice cream has helped me through many difficult moments. And no worries, I found an editor–one that I love working with!

  11. liz2you says:

    Good luck and I loved this blog entry on how things actually happened. It gives us all confidence!!

  12. Ugh! What a strange thing to not even reply. At least if she didn’t want to take on your project she could have sent a note.
    Kind of reminds me of a similar situation where I took on an editing job for an author. It was a big book at about 400 pages and it took me weeks to edit. He asked me to work as quickly as possible because he wanted to self-publish right away. When I finished I sent him a message and and invoice. No word. I waited a week and sent another message. Like you, I thought maybe something bad had happened to him, or maybe he ran into some financial difficulty. I offered to let him pay in installments. (I think you see where this is going.) I never sent him my edits of course, but I spent a lot of time that went down the drain for nothing. Because of him, I now ask clients to pay 50% up front. Live and learn!!

    BTW – I love your grace period. That’s a terrific idea to keep peace and harmony in the house. 🙂

    • TBM says:

      You never heard from him again. That’s awful. All that work and dedication and nothing. You see it happens on both sides. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt but not living up to a business deal is wrong. My editor requests some money as a deposit when you schedule the job then half of the remaining balance when I submit the manuscript and the rest when she’s done. I actually like having it broken up into installments–much easier on the checkbook.

      The grace period has helped both of us. We are both supportive of each other but will also step up and say enough is enough. You need a plan.

  13. pattisj says:

    Ice cream is our friend. I’m glad you found an editor.

  14. T.F.Walsh says:

    Sorry to hear the editor didn’t come back, but that could be a lot of reasons that have nothing to do with your book. Either way, if they can’t even respond with a yay or nay, you don’t want a non communicating editor. Best of luck in finding the perfect match for your work:)

    • TBM says:

      Yes it was useful to find out in the beginning that communication is not her selling point. My editor now is always so kind and responsive to emails. I don’t need my hand held every step of the way, but some communication, guidance, and know how is much appreciated.

  15. Novroz says:

    How awful! That’s not a polite way to respon someone. If I were the editor, I would reply back and say ‘sorry, I don’t think I can work on your novel’ …at least has the nerve to tell the truth, not letting people in confusion.

  16. Caroline says:

    I understand when publishers can’t reply to everyone but an editor who told you to send your work and then not reply… It’s not professional whatever the reason.

    • TBM says:

      I agree, Caroline. But at least I found out early on that she wasn’t the right person to work with. I’m not a big fan of people who can’t follow through in a professional setting.

  17. Grace says:

    It seems strangely unprofessional to correspond and then drop off the face of the planet like that. 😦

  18. i like the time limit on feeling sorry for oneself. at the end of the day, judging from the reactions to your book, she missed a golden opportunity.

  19. Hmmmm…this is quite strange. I’m disappointed with her lack of response.

  20. The Hook says:

    I feel your pain. Trust me.

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