Welcome back to yet another installment of Confessions from the Editing Cave. Today in the confessional -- paranormal romance author, MJ Compton!
1. Tell us a bit about your background working with editor(s). Did you hire a freelance editor? Work with an editor at a publishing house? Work with an agent in the capacity of an editor? All of the above or some other combination?
I have worked as a copyeditor for a small publishing house; as an author, I’ve worked with multiple editors at two small publishing houses, and I once had an agent who liked to edit my work.
2. What was your overall relationship with your editor? Good? Bad? Indifferent?
With my initial publishing house, I don’t have direct contact with the people editing my books. With my second publisher, I have one editor, and we interact a lot. I think every editor I’ve had asked fabulous questions that would only strengthen my book. Sometimes, I do worry about “voice” vs. editing, but have always been able to find a way to make it work.
3. What was the best edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
That’s really difficult to say. Possibly making a scene less of an “almost-rape” scene. It wasn’t a rape scene, but without making the hero’s motivations a whole heck of a lot clearer, it came across pretty nasty. (And yes, he stopped once he realized what he was doing.)
4. What was the worst edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
Two different editors, two different books, two punctuation issues. The first one tried to change all of my plurals to possessives. The second one tried to change all of my colons to commas. (Third editor, third book: “I don’t usually like semi-colons in fiction, but you did use it correctly.”)
5. What was your first, initial, gut-reaction to your edits?
“Wow! I thought this was cleaner,” technically speaking. And I’ve been told my manuscripts are really clean (free of typos, formatting issues, etc.) Other than that, I usually think: “Good catch!” or “Great question! I’d better clarify that.” My editors are trying to make my story the best book it can be. Arguing with them or disregarding their questions and concerns isn’t professional. We all want the books to sell a lot of copies.
6. Confession time! Share anything else you’d like to confess.
When I work as a copy editor, I am shocked at the sloppiness of some manuscripts. When submitting to a publisher, the manuscript should be as clean and polished as you can make it. I was on a panel of editors last year where we shared our pet peeves. Poor presentation was in the top three. “The copy editor will fix it,” mentality should have died several decades ago. Be professional.
ALL ABOUT MJ:
MJ Compton grew up near Cardiff, New York, a place best known for its giant.
Although her 30-year career in local television included such highlights as being bitten by a lion, preempting a US President for a college basketball game, giving a three-time world champion boxer a few black eyes, a mention in the Drudge Report, and meeting her husband, MJ’s urge to create her own stories never went away.
MJ still lives in upstate New York with her husband. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Central New York Romance Writers. Music and cooking are two of her passions, and she enjoys baseball and college basketball, but she’s primarily focused on wine . . . and writing.