Comic Sans? In bold? Be still, my editing heart!
Aggggghhhh! Stab me in the face with the little plastic knife from your Easy-Bake Oven! It would be less painful than reading this!
To be clear, the terrible writing is all mine. It has its own set of troubles, which is a blog post all its own at some future date. Or perhaps, it’s the next Great Canadian Novel™!
But the formatting is what I once received—on paper, and on 400 pages of paper. This taught me several valuable lessons all at once, the most important of which is that if you want to send me paper, I shall tell you that that’s cool. You can hoof it down to the post office and pay for that. I actually like working on paper, but I have my limits. I’m now RILLY SPECIFIC about how that paper should look.
Four hundred pages of edits, eleventy trillion notes from me, and a strong recommendation that there were actually three novels contained in this one manuscript netted me a paycheque and nothing more. Not only was the author not going to take any of my suggestions (like, I mean, ANY of them), she would not be considering for one second the suggestion that perhaps she pull apart the book and make three separate ones. I even told her exactly how she could do it.
Danger pay! Isolation pay! These things ought to come with the job. You may or may not be surprised by this, but there are many people in the world who pay me large sums of money to not edit their work. What they want to hear is this: “It’s fantastic! Don’t change a thing! I’m forwarding it to my editor AS WE SPEAK and I’m telling him to publish this immediately!” It will not surprise you to hear that I never say that.
Now, looky here:
THAT’S better! With a few simple formatting changes, I’ve turned this text into something that the editor at the press who receives this file won’t print out and take home for the sheer pleasure of watching his parrot chew it to death in under five minutes.
If the editor has to reformat your manuscript in order be be able to simply read it without wanting to get a fake passport and leave the country forever, questioning every life choice they’ve ever made, it could be the greatest story in the history of the world: no one is going to read it.
And now, here’s a terrible photo of my resident bunny to soften the blow of all the hard truths I’ve just lumped upon you. Mr. Bun doesn’t sit there for hours worrying about formatting his prose. You might want to take the opposite approach.
This is also a good time to remind you that I’m having a GINORMOUS editing sale (20% off my regular rates) if you book with me before the 27th of this month, and our work begins before my birthday (November 10). Click the contact button up there to send me a note and we’ll get to work!
NOTE: If you drop me a line and I don’t answer you right away, panic not! My family reunion is this weekend, and I have limited coverage of any kind. You shall hear from me on my return.