Monday, June 8, 2015

Confessions from the Editing Cave with Reagan Phillips

Welcome back to yet another installment of Confessions from the Editing Cave. Today in the confessional -- romantic suspense author, Reagan Phillips!

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?
My experience with editors is a bit of a mixed bag. I started with an editor for a small press publisher who happened to also be the owner and most prolific writer for that publisher. I was very new to writing and thought my lack of developmental feedback was a sign of my writing brilliance. Thank goodness I learned that a good editor doesn’t spew rainbows and unicorn poop all over your work but rather runs the red pen dry to make your writing the best it possibly can be while keeping your voice and style intact. No, I don’t envy editors. Their job is super hard!

2. What was your overall relationship with your editor? Good? Bad? Indifferent?
My relationship with each of the editors I’ve worked with has always been good, even when the edits weren’t so much :)  I truly believe building relationships with the team that builds your book is one of the most important parts of our jobs as writers. And I’m happy to say my current freelance editor is a dream come true. She’s hard when she needs to be but doesn’t hold back on the kudos and I love, love, love the ideas she has to strengthen my writing while keeping it my writing. 

3. What was the best edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
I’m not sure if I can point out just one thing to be the best edits I’ve ever received, but I’d have to say on the whole the edits that point out flaws I as the author can’t see for being so close to the story are the most helpful. I had an editor point out one of my characters acted like a total immature brat at the beginning of the book and even though she grows into a strong woman, it still didn’t work for her. That tidbit of advice changed my whole character arc into something much stronger.

4. What was the worst edit you’ve ever received from your editor?
Worst edits…I feel like I’m on the hot seat now. I’d have to say the worst edits I ever got were….well…okay, I don’t think I’ve ever had truly bad edits. Even if the suggestions didn’t fit what I wanted with my story, I still found them to be helpful in making me prove why I’d chosen to do whatever the editor wanted me to change. Call me Pollyanna, but even bad edits can strengthen a writer if that writer is willing to use them as a learning tool.

5. What was your first, initial, gut-reaction to your edits?
I have a system with edits. My first reaction is to always proclaim to anyone who will listen that I have decided to quit writing and return to the day job. Working an eight to five has to be easier than fixing all those mistakes, right? I make it a point to read over edits then close the document and not look at it again for at least a day or two. After a few days my thoughts shift from fear to determination and I’m ready to tackle the changes that will make my story more enjoyable to readers. 

6. Confession time! Share anything else you’d like to confess.
True Confessions? My Favorite game. Let’s see…what to tell…okay, this is a good one. My first book went to print without the proof edits complete. The editor for the publisher loaded the wrong file (or so the story goes). My first published book, my baby, my one perfect thing, still had the hundred and two errors I’d pointed out in the galleys. No, it wasn’t the end of the world, but it sure felt like it. A little hard work and backtracking and the mistakes were fixed but for a few days I didn’t think I would ever publish a book again. A good editor is worth their weight in gold. A great editor is worth more than money can buy. 

Steamy romantic suspense writer, Reagan Phillips lives in the Southern United States with her college sweetheart, The Officer, their son, one overactive beagle, and an adored fish. 

Reagan is a 2013 Beacon Award Winner for erotic romance for her debut title, Confess.
Connect with Reagan on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter