As an anniversary vacation trip, my husband and I attended the 30th Missoula Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. This is different from other Cons I've attended in that the focus is on writers and gamers. This will be a series of posts on what I learned from the professional panelists.
Ask The Editor was made up of Patrick Swenson from Fairwood Press, Tod McCoy of Hydra House, and Andrea Howe of Blue Falcon Editing.
I wanted advice on a getting a book of short stories published, but both of the press editors made it clear that short story collections don't sell. They outlined the hierarchy this way:
- Short Story Collections
It was a great panel in that it helped me focus on what I'm really aiming for in my writing.
I learned that even with an offer from a publishing house, finding an agent can be hard. It's more like a marriage, and as an author it is important to find a good fit and cultivate the relationship.
The other question I asked was how much back-and-forth is expected or routine between a writer and an editor for a book. The answer was a little startling. Two times! That's it. There are exceptions to this, obviously, but that's the norm. So, the lesson is - don't rely on your editor to fix your book!
The editor will point out weak spots or other issues, but it is on you to fix it and fix it well. The manuscript you submit to them is meant to be a final pass. Have beta-readers and listen to them (more on this later). Hire a professional copyeditor...which leads me to Andrea Howe.
She owns Blue Falcon Editing. She will take your final draft and make it a buffed and brightly shining apple. You pay her by the hour and she fixes all your grammar and syntax and crap! If you mention this blog post, you can get $20 off the first job she does for you. Her website also has a section of advice and resources.
Next up: First Page Idol and how I made the whole room laugh...