I decided to do something a little different this month and introduce you all to a very important part of publishing and someone that every Indie Author relies on to help us give the reading public a quailty book to enjoy.... the Indie Book Editor. Nanci is a delightful person and she takes her part in publishing very serious.
Let's get started...
As a book editor is an important part of the literary world, but are seldom known by the readers, I would like the readers to get to know the real you. How would you describe yourself as a person?
I am just your typical fun-loving southern girl. I was very fortunate as a child to have a mother who took time to read to me, long before I could read by myself. I have three brothers who kept her very busy, but I remember she always took time to sit down and read to me. Every summer I got library certificates because we had read at least ten books over the summer vacation. I’m sure that is where I found my love of reading.
What part of editing do you find exciting?
I find it so exciting and rewarding to be entrusted with a project an author has put so much time and effort into. I love adding that little bit of polish that makes their book shine. When it is published, I feel like a proud grandma, watching her grandchild venture out into the world. I feel pride and I’m honored to have taken a small part in the way it appears to the world.
When you receive a book to edit, what is the first thing you do?
I set up my laptop and I grab a great big bottle of Coke ZERO and a bag of Hershey Chocolate Drops. No editing job is complete without those items.
Then, I dive in…can’t wait to get started.
Do you have a certain process you go through while you edit?
Not really. I approach it as an avid reader with a critical eye. Grammar and spelling have always been easy for me so I usually spot those problems quickly, but as an avid reader, I look for things that may not make sense to other readers or wording that doesn’t flow smoothly. It is my goal to stay true to the author’s intent and at the same time, meet the reader’s expectations, so in some cases, I have to look for a different way to say the same thing.
Do you find that you’re influenced by the editing style from books you’ve read over the years?
I don’t think so. I’ve pretty much developed my own style by talking to my authors. I try to edit in a way that makes the author’s life a little easier. When they get the edit back, I don’t think it needs to be a difficult task to go through and make changes.
What is the most common mistake authors seem to make in their manuscripts?
Typographical errors are probably the most common mistakes. When an author gets caught up in the story, they don’t want to break their concentration by going back to fix the typos.
What advice would you give an author to make their writing better?
Believe in yourself. I think the more you write, the more your confidence grows and the more you learn to trust in your ability as an author.
Do you find the authors are willing to make any changes you suggest?
I have been so fortunate to work with some amazing authors. They have been very receptive to my opinion on issues I felt needed to be rewritten due to content, and to my suggestions for changes for whatever reasons. I think they have gotten to know me well enough to know I only want to see them succeed and any suggestions I make are only in their best interest. If for any reason they don’t want to follow my suggestions, at least I made them think about it; the rest is up to them.
Have you ever had to suggest an author do a complete rewrite because of excessive problems in the structure of the story?
No. We’ve had no structural problems.
I know you get all sorts of different types of books to edit, is there any genre you enjoy more than others?
I enjoy all types of books. I really enjoy a good thriller with lots of excitement, but I’m willing to try most any type of book. If it is something questionable, I have had a couple of authors send me a sample of their work. If there is any reason I don’t feel it is a good fit, I turn it down. I think if for some reason I don’t feel comfortable with the book or its content, it would be unfair to the author if I tried to edit it. I did turn down one book recently, not because I felt the author didn’t do a great job, but because he used a lot of foreign phrases I was not familiar with, and a lot of technical jargon I would never have followed. He was a great guy, and I didn’t want to turn him down, but he deserved to know up front that I didn’t feel I was the right person to edit his book.
I know as an editor you must also be a reader. Please share with us some of your favorite authors and books.
I love to read a good James Patterson novel. I have many favorites – Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham, Mary Jane Clark, Mary Higgins Clark, Danielle Steel, Joshua Graham/Ian Alexander to name a few. Now I add to my list some of my new favorites: Linda Barton, Natasha Salnikova, and Brian Anderson. It would be impossible for me to choose a favorite book; there are just too many.
What do you find to be the most rewarding for being an editor for Indie Authors?
I love the Indie Authors. They are just getting started and trying to learn the best way to get out there and get people to read their books. I feel their excitement when they read a good review and their frustration if they get a bad one. I enjoy watching them grow as a mother watches her children. I want to see them follow their dream and succeed.
I know we all need the love and support of our family and friends to stay grounded in this exciting world of Indie Publishing. Would you like to send a shout out here?
You know, of all the people I feel supporting me, I have to mention my mother. She just celebrated her 80th birthday earlier this month, and she is still my most staunch supporter. When I am editing, sometimes I come across a sentence or paragraph that doesn’t have any problems grammatically, but it just doesn’t have the right effect. I’ll read the original passage to my mom and then follow it with my rewording of the same passage and see which one sounds best to her. I enjoy the discussions we have about the choices and she enjoys feeling involved. And I also have to mention my best buddy, Jazzy. He’s the cutest little Japanese Chin who sometimes has to step on my lap and get between me and that nasty laptop for a little attention, and who barks at me at 2:00 in the morning to let me know it’s past his bedtime and I need to stop working on that book!
I would like to thank Nanci for giving us the oppurtunity to get to know her better and for giving us some insight into the world of the Indie Editor. I hope everytime you read a book from now on that you will realize its a team effort between the Author and their Editor to bring us the stories we all enjoy and to the Authors out there, I hope the next time you have a book that needs some special "polish" you will contact Nanci and learn for yourself what a joy she is to work with.
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Featured Editor Interview
for March 2012
Nanci Nelson Rogers