Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Content Cops

Content Cops
Why We Need Editors Series
Net's Notations Tuesdays

Going pretty near the speed limit (okay, maybe a touch over *wink*), I peeked in the rearview mirror. Why was the driver behind me riding my tail? And where was a member of law enforcement? There’s security knowing there could be an officer around the next curve ready to cite the driver harassing me.

As writers, we can trust there are editors ready to help apprehend content crooks in our writing. Let me explain.

First of all, it’s not personal. We’re watching for content errors, not opportunities to nitpick. 

As a reader, I can recall feeling dissatisfied with the conclusion of some stories at times because the threads I was closely watching didn’t get resolved. Dissatisfied readers may not pick up your books again. Editors want to keep that from happening.

Crit groups generally see your story over time. In our group, we exchange a chapter per meeting. So, any given novel can take several months to get through. Give any reader a copy of your novel and have them read only one chapter a week—it’s quite possible they’ll miss content snafus.

But editors get a copy of the entire manuscript before them. They can read it in one or two sittings and see it like a reader would. They watch all the threads weave through and make suggestions for bettering the story. As a writer, I’ve been grateful for that. In nonfiction, editors can catch the logic leaps (not that this doesn’t happen in fiction, cuz it does *wink*) or flow issues.

Content cops are on your side! We want you to succeed.

Do you read the acknowledgement page(s) first or last when you read a book? I read them first. I like discovering who helped and how they helped. Do you know what I so often see? “Thank you to my editor whose suggestions helped make the story so much better than its original state.” I’m guessing the writer isn’t speaking of grammar here.

We make the world of books a better place.

Editors are content cops. Please keep in mind, we’re story-minded—like you, but with an editorial bent. When we make suggestions, we’re gearing toward reader satisfaction. If readers enjoy your book, they’ll look for your name again and again. They’ll watch for your next book’s release with great anticipation. That’s what you want. And editors (freelance or publisher employed) can help you get there. Keep in mind you’re building a reputation for your name as an author.

And if you step out of line, we editors will discreetly cite you and then send you on your way with suggestions. *smile* We’re all in this together. The writer in me likes the inherent security in that truth. The editor in me knows it’s a high calling, chockfull of responsibility. Together we make a formidable team, don’t you think?