Thursday, June 23, 2011


Huh. Looking back at the title of this post, I'm thinking maybe it wasn't such a good one. I mean, I shower. Sometimes twice a day depending. I'm not "ripe" nor have I been "riped" by any other means. I also didn't forget a "P". Unless you're being sarcastic about my strength, then go to it.

This post is actually about my editor. I've gone through another one. It's enough to give a girl a complex, but in reality, four of the editors I had at one house were because the publisher had a lot of moving around happening. All four came and went in the span of a month and a half. I SWEAR it wasn't because of me. I hadn't turned anything in during that time.

But the one I lost, I'd had through two publishing houses. I loved her. I still do. She's my champion and my best friend. After working closely with her for years, it's kind of like having the rug pulled out from under you, because now I don't have her as my editor anywhere. Is it a sound business decision? Absolutely. It's never a good idea to have even the whiff of favoritism. She didn't and wouldn't, but you can understand how it would appear.

So here's another aspect of the writing world. Turn-over. When I first started off writing, I was so focused on getting my work out there and Yay-I-Have-A-Real-Live-Scary-Editor, that I never stopped to consider I'd be moved from one editor to another as a matter of course. It happens in every house, all the time. At first you think maybe you've done something wrong, but you get used to it. There are just those editors who stick, you know? The ones you never forget because they had a serious impact on you.

My editor Helen, at Ellora's Cave was my first and she baby fed me into confidence. Michele at Total-E-Bound I only had for a very few books, but she called me on my crap and terrified the poo out of me. And then there's Christine who loved everything I wrote and put comment boxes in the margin filled with laughs or smiley faces or just to snark on me for hilarious typos. Even if she didn't like it, she never told me my work sucked. She just said, "It's not my favorite of your books."

I'm probably going to drive my new editor crazy. One of the last things Christine said to me about editing yesterday was that the reason she gets me so well is because neither one of us are linear thinkers. We don't plot and don't do well with plotting, plus she knows how my brain works (shut up).

Do you know how in the south it's rude to ask a point blank question? Regina, I know you feel me. To those of you who don't, it works a little like this. Say you notice that the neighborhood dogs got into your garbage. (You're thinking: then I'd pick it up. No no no no no!) What you do is, you casually walk to the nearest male, find something to engross you, like pour coffee, and say, "Looks like the dogs were out last night." Then walk away. Just walk away. The proper male response is to go outside and clean up the garbage. YES, from that very little info. It's non-linear information.

Now Christine is good at reading my round about, highlighting it, and saying, "you mean this?" which will say in two words what took me a paragraph. I miss her already.

My new editor is very, like VERY, linear and plotty. I'm beginning to feel sorry for her.

RIP, Christine. Thank goodness I still get to talk to you about life stuff. I'm going to miss your sass.


Unknown said...

I've been through one editor change and it was for the best. I'd miss the hell out of Helen if I lost her.
Hope things work out with your new editor.

Mia Watts said...

Thanks, Amber. I did miss Helen. Like crazy. In fact, I still do and it's been almost three? years. To compound it, she's very far away. At least with Christine, I have the chance of seeing her.

It always surprises me how HARD losing an editor is. And then I think about all we've been through together and it makes sense. We put our hearts and souls into our work, and they polish it to make us look shiny. There's something incredible about having someone believe in you that much. Even, LOL, if they're paid to do it.

Unknown said...

Oh how I hear you on editor changes. I just went through one, two actually. It was painful at first, but now it's working.

Mia Watts said...

Melissa, there's always that learning curve, isn't there? Figuring out each others styles is half the battle. For example, I'm a sarcastic person, but never hurtful, and I have to be very careful that the editor knows when she sees a joke. Best case scenario, she jokes back and there's teh banter! I love bantering.

I've had 14 editors. In four and a half years. *sigh* It's still hard!

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm lucky that I've only had a few editors and they have all been great to work with. Keeping fingers crossed it stays that way. I feel for those who have had many switches because every editor has her own 'thing'.

Mia Watts said...

Regina, you are so right. Like with Christine, I always knew which humor points worked. With Michele, I had a hard hitting polish. With Helen, I was challenged to write more and expand my horizons. With Lynn, I had solid professionalism.

They all have their personalities and it's kind of like an informal professional arranged marriage: you really hope it works, but your committed for the duration.

Casey Crow said...

Fun blog post! Good luck with the new editor!

Mia Watts said...

Thank you, Casey!

Molly Daniels said...

I loved my first editor, and I wish my publisher would quit bouncing my 2nd book around. The darn book has now been 'coming soon' for 18 months!

And I'm looking forward to my new editor at my newest publisher:)

Publisher#2 editor? Ha. I edited the thing myself. And the one credited with it? Didn't even work for the company at the time.

Mia Watts said...

Yikes Molly! I imagine you've already followed up several times? You might check your contract and see if you can pull it to submit somewhere else. 18 months of a pending contract is questionable. :(