Tag Archives: Author editor relationship

Beyond Faith new novel

The second beyond book.

The contract for Beyond Faith, my third Beyond mystery book is signed and yesterday I completed the second last rewrite for the publisher. There will be one more kick at the … no, not cat – no cats in Beyond Faith – there is a dog,but I do not kick dogs, or cats either. I will get one more chance at any rewrite after the editor at the publisher has another look at it.

He and I have worked together to get Beyond Faith ready for publication this fall and once the last rewrite is done, I will pull our the book promo ideas now running round in my brain (and some no doubt taking a nap), and what I have read in emails and social media and get them going.

But the rewriting has been intense. Shane, my editor has pointed out things that are unclear, silly and inconsistent, and like all editors (myself too when I wear my editor hat), things that can just be deleted. I found a few of all those on my own. From there I was able to rewrite a better story, make my characters more interesting and realistic and hint at what’s to maybe come in future Beyond mysteries.

It is an experience for me to be the one whose novel is being edited instead of the other way around. I do say that I work from both sides of the fence – writing and editing. This full fence position (positions?) gives a wider perspective of the writing and rewriting process.

I like going deep deep into the story with its rewriting. Sometimes I get so carried away I forget to get up and eat lunch at a reasonable time. And I find myself acting out scenes – although many times it is to get the logistics of what is happening. Without going into a lot of details to spoil it, Beyond Faith has a whole lot of pushing going on (and I don’t mean the drug-dealing kind). Trying to see how someone would fall when pushed (as opposed to tripping and falling) isn’t as easy as you think.

What do you do? Get a friend to push you or persuade them to let you push them so you can see it from behind? It is important to get these details right, but at what cost? No, I didn’t get friends involved, but I did some research online and I moved around inside and outside to get a better idea.

This going inside your novel’s story and characters and seeing where it takes you and then having it make sense and flow, but be interesting and different is what I like doing. It is like going into another world, although it is debatable who controls it – you or your characters.

But if I didn’t do it, the novel would be superficial.

And while I’m doing it, God or somebody else help anyone who phones or comes to my door; If jerked suddenly out of this intense creative state, there is no telling what I will do. Although I seem to be more mouthy (as in “what do you want?”) instead of pushy.

What about you? .


Sharon A. Crawford






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Listen to your publisher

I am lucky that the editor at my publisher’s goes through my submitted manuscript and makes suggestions. Then we book a phone consult to hash through all these suggestions and comments.

It really gets me thinking beyond whatever box I was writing in.

I had that experience earlier this week. This was the “final” submission, i.e., the one that would make or break whether my new Beyond novel would be accepted for publication.He was quick to praise that it was a much better story and worth being published, but it came with the suggested changes. And some of them pointed out what wasn’t working and left the how-to-do-so up to me.

So we had, as the current dialogue goes, “a conversation about it”. We were both polite but explored what could be done. He said he had read the novel as a reader and not a publisher and that’s where his suggestions came from.

Besides stretching the creativity limit, it also served as pointing-out what just might not work. He didn’t say it, but he was playing devil’s advocate.

Not all publishers do this with their authors – whether new. Often it is “my way or the highway if you want it to be published.” That often stifles the author’s creativity. It is okay for authors to talk about why they wrote what, but go from there. Get past the ego that everything in your manuscript, down to the last comma, is sealed in gold and it has to be published exactly that way. We have probably all read published trade books where the publisher gave the author (often a well-known author) free rein. I won’t mention any names, but some of those books could have been shortened by 200 pages or so.

Getting published, at least by a trade publisher, is a two-way street. Remember, your publisher wants to sell your book, so making that more viable is a good idea. And it can also increase not only your royalties but the book’s presence in a very crowded market.

I have to the end of April to make the changes. So, after our phone conversation, I spent the rest of the afternoon and into dinner time going through the whole novel again and making short comments to his comments based on our conversation. Because being human, I would not remember it all if I didn’t do that.

I’ll keep you posted on Beyond Faith.

Meantime, you can familiarize yourself with the Beyond mystery series by clicking on the Beyond Blood icon a the top.


Sharon A. Crawford



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Three Author Snafus Editors find

I’m wearing my Editor’s hat today and the hat pin is keeping it firmly in place. There are several “concerns” (to put it gently) I come across when editing an author’s fiction manuscript. Today, I’ll highlight three of them with quick suggestions on how to avoid.

  1. Point of View does the lice movement, i.e., switches heads a lot. Sometimes this switch occurs many times within one scene and it is confusing for the reader. The scary part here is some of the POV switching occurs in published novels. Somebody was dozing at the wheel. Yes, you can have multiple points of view in a novel. Often, depending on the novel’s plot, multiple POV is very necessary. But the rule of thumb is to keep the same POV for the chapter, or a scene in the chapter. Get inside one character at a time. If it helps subhead the POV character’s name for the chapter or scene (you can remove that subhead later). Refer back to that subhead when you finish writing the scene’ or chapter’s draft.
  2. When detail becomes expository. This can happen with describing rooms, towns or history and when it gets out of hand can put the reader to sleep. Why? Because the prose is coming across as a lecture. Even putting it as dialogue doesn’t always help. Yes, put the character in the scene and if describing rooms or towns, beaches, etc. do it as the character goes into the room, etc. and what they see. If the room is untidy, maybe they trip over something. For history, keep it to a minimum – what actually is connected to the story’s plot – not the area’s whole history from BC. Yes, use some dialogue, but keep it short and have the characters do something while talking, have other characters ask the history teller questions or make comments. And have the conversation interrupted with something else happening. For example, if they are in a car, maybe the car blows a tire; maybe they are being followed (but watch the POV here); and maybe there is a sudden storm.
  3. Weird formatting in Word. I’m talking beyond what a copy editor would do – such as changing paragraphing to traditional style for submission to publisher. I have had hard returns in manuscripts, extra space suddenly appearing at the bottom of the pages, backward quotation marks. And my favourite for “the author is in the doghouse” – submitting a manuscript for editing when the manuscript has already been formatted in Word’s book form. Huh? Keep it simple and basic. If you can’t do this, hire a Word professional to type up your manuscript. Oh yeah, handwritten manuscripts are never acceptable.

These are just a few of the “idiosyncrasies” I have received from authors expecting me to edit their manuscript.and I have received worse.

Okay, back to wearing my author’s hat.

And as usual, if you click on the Beyond book at the top, it will link to more information. Teaser: there may be some news of another Beyond book soon.




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Tips for Authors Self-publishing Part 2

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Last week’s post contained tips for editors dealing with authors who plan to self-publish a book. Today, I’ll present some tips for the authors. These are all from my presentation on the Editors Canada Self-publishing panel held April 26.

And what they call “a word to the wise” – just because you are self-publishing your book doesn’t meant you can skip the editing process. An editor can read your manuscript with an open mind, i.e., not working from the “tunnel vision” authors (and that includes me here) can get into with their baby, their manuscript. It’s more than just where the commas go, but includes whether or not your story flows, makes sense (and in a micro way – does a scene, paragraph make sense?). Is one character’s actions believable (considering the genre and story line) and is the plot, especially the resolution, credible.

Remember authors and editors need to work together, so the first point below is the most important. The rest really flows from that one.


What authors need to know when working with editors (a partial list):

  1. Mutual Respect
  2. Don’t have your book printed out before getting it edited.
  3. Don’t design your book in Word BEFORE getting it edited.
  4. Your book is still a manuscript before it is edited, so submit it electronically as a manuscript – 12 pt. Times New Roman, double-spaced AFTER you and the editor reach a hiring agreement. However, the potential editor might want a few chapters to help estimate a fee.
  5. The potential editor and writer can sort out hiring and related matters by email, phone, in person, or some of those three. Don’t be a no-show for appointments.
  6. Most editors will require a fee deposit and will draw up a contract for work requirements, time-line, and fees.
  7. When the contract is signed and the editor starts work, don’t bother her with constant emails or phone calls for progress reports and don’t email content changes without an editorial request.


Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.


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Tips for authors self-publishing

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The self-publishing panel I was on with Ali Cunliffe and Susan Viets presented by Editors Canada last week went very well. We all had interesting and informative points to make. A link to the You Tube video of it is here. Warning: the visual is lousy – we appear in shadows a lot, and it is long – it was an hour and a half panel including Q and A. But the sound is good, so you might want to get it going and listen to it while you eat lunch.

Over the next two or three weeks I will post some tips for authors and editors as that’s what our panel discussion was about. Today I’ll talk about the editor’s side.

Drama queen that I am (or ham actor) I started withe a mini-skit, standing up with a book (not mine and not the client’s). I recreated the scene when  a potential client walked into my home office for a meeting. He came in carrying a book, his book, already printed and said,

“I need this book edited.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

Editors don’t edit books AFTER they are printed. Fortunately, he had only the one book printed. So, here are a few tips and caveats, for editors working with authors who are self-publishing.
At the top of the list is MUTUAL RESPECT

  1. Many authors self-publishing don’t know anything about editing, so you have to educate them.
  2. Some authors think a book can be edited almost overnight (well in a week or two). Editors need to diplomatically tell them that it’s not so – even if they don’t have other projects on the go (avoid using the word “client” here as some authors often like to think you are focusing on their work only
  3. Diplomacy
  4. Ability to connect with the author about what they are looking for in their manuscript, for example a manuscript evaluation, a copy edit, etc.
  5. Flexibility in fees and time.
  6. Use a contract
  7. Knowledge beyond the usual editing such as illustrators, self-publishing methods, e-copies, promotion.
  8. Know your skills and what you are prepared to do.
  9. Keep authors apprised of any problems arising such as time lines and missing content.
  10. Patience.


Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.


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Author Editor Relationship – keep it professional and respectful link to Sharon A.'s short story collection link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

Your editor is not your ninth grade English teacher (at least I hope not) and is not there to rap your knuckles for forgetting some arcane rule. Editors are professionals who are accustomed to interacting with authors in a mutually respectful relationship.

– Dick Margulis (Editor)

We authors need editors to edit our fiction because we are too subjective with our stories. A fresh pair of eyes and brain can see what our tunnel vision misses. However, many authors have tunnel vision in how they deal with their editor. Sadly, so do editors with their authors.

I should know as I work both sides of the fence as a writer and an editor. And I also teach writing and coach clients in writing. And balancing on that fence (not barbed wire, although sometimes it feels like it), I have seen some strange situations. So, from my personal experience, here are a few tips (with a few weird anecdotes) to help smooth your relationship with your editor.

1. Be professional. You are hiring the editor to evaluate and edit your writing. So no prima donna activities such as insisting the editor can edit but must not change one comma.

2. Realize that editing takes time. You are not going to get a good edit in a few days or a few weeks – even if the editor works 18/7.

3. Realize that editing costs money. Editors do not all charge the same rates. I once had an author include me in his extended fishing expedition to find an editor. He was looking for dirt cheap for editing his book-length manuscript. He told me some of his “contacts” charged as low as $300 and I charged the highest. He didn’t go with me, but I wonder which editor he chose. You get what you pay for. However, it is a good idea to check out a few editors.
4. Choose an editor who actually edits in your genre. I do decline work in some areas I don’t edit in (children’s books and erotica to name a couple, but I do edit young adult books. The first one is not in my area of editing expertise – I don’t have the mindset here and the second I just prefer not to edit). But I will sometimes take on other areas I seldom edit in. Maybe the story interests me or maybe I want to help the author. Or maybe the publisher is my client and the author is the publisher’s client.

5. Both editor and author need to be somewhat flexible with time. As they say, stuff happens and the editor might get behind. Ditto the author when he or she has to answer questions about unclear novel content or make changes. (Note: the author is the copyright owner of the novel, not the editor, so if there are major structural changes I suggest them, especially if I am evaluating, not editing, the manuscript).

6. More on time: don’t bombard your editor with constant emails asking how it is going or worse, sending unasked for changes in your novel for the editor to add in while the editor is still editing. I had a client do the latter, but she found it difficult to follow my requests to please source the references she quoted from.

7. There should always be a contract, or at least a written agreement, between editor and author. This keeps both on track re the editor’s tasks, time-lines, fees, etc. I use the contract suggested by the Editors’ Association of Canada.

8.  For the editors – when editing or evaluating a manuscript, do not be sarcastic. Be honest but polite. Keep it professional. Do not play school marm. You are there to help the writer not wave the big stick.

9. And here is the latest bug-a-boo. If you have made an appointment to meet with an editor before hiring him or her, keep the appointment or at least treat it like you would any other business appointment – if you have to cancel, contact the editor and reschedule. The same goes for editors. I had a would-be-client on a constant change-the-time-and-date spree. He would phone up and ask to do so. That would be okay once. Stuff happens. But when the would-be client agreed to a certain time-change and then changed it to something else without telling the editor… Or one and a half hour after the appointment the author called and said he got tied up and could he come to my home office now? You can imagine my answer to that one. On the other hand, people get sick and have family emergencies. One writing client I tutor has medical issues and I respect that. We work around them. I do not dump clients or refuse clients because of health issues; I have enough of my own to work around

I could go on and on but you get the gist.

An author-editor relationship is a business one. Both should be professional in their dealings with the other.


Sharon A. Crawford

You can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at And keep checking for the latest news on the release of my first mystery novel Beyond Blood, also published by Blue Denim Press More info on the Beyond Blood page as we get closer to the date.


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