Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Unsung Heroes of Publishing


Don’t tell Decadent Publishing this, but I’m a crappy writer. I’m not kidding. I can tell a good story, however, I suck at writing. If someone were to take a red pen to one of my first drafts it would look like a scene from Saw. There are a whole bunch of people who make me look like I know what I’m doing.

The first person to get their hands on my story is my beta reader. My beta reader is my aunt. She and I are the same age, have similar interests, and share a similar sense of humor. She keeps me accountable. Her job is cheerleader. She tells me I’m wonderful and keeps me writing. Of course I know she’s lying her butt off, but her job is to lie.

Second is my critique partner. This person tells me I suck, literally. She sends me notes like, “Are you kidding me with this?” or “Try again” or “What the hell were you smoking when you wrote this scene!” She might sound harsh, but she’s perfect for me. I can always count on her honesty. Naturally I’ve wanted to kill her and feed her body to a colony of crabs raised on a diet of human flesh more than once.

Once you actually sign a publishing contract you get to meet your editors. From acquisition to finished product, Decadent Publishing puts your manuscript through four editors. Each one serves a different purpose. They all have the same goal. That goal is to make your story the very best it can be. It can be painful to have someone cut your baby up into little bits, but that’s publishing cupcake! If you can’t handle it, consider a career as a dog walker.

These are the people that make the novel your reading in the bathtub worth reading. They deserve a lot more credit than a mention on the acknowledgements page. Every author knows and recognizes the value of good support staff. They help you through writer’s block, talk you down off the cliff, and keep you from firing on a crowded strip mall with a .50 caliber machine gun. 


Sadly, these wonderful men and women are forgotten by the reader. The reader thinks their writer is brilliant. Most of the time their right, the writer is brilliant. But the beta readers, critique partners and editors are freaking miracle workers. 

13 comments:

Ladystyx said...

Huzzah to the Support staff that makes the Writers look brilliant!

thanks for the reminder that so many of us Forget. creating a book can be a group effort and is not just a Author cranking out a first copy that is ready for the mass reader. But is a craft that takes Quite a bit of work and revision.

Ladystyx

Heaven Liegh said...

Great blog entry! The hard workers behind the scenes are too often forgotten! Thanks for reminding us who help us make it all possible!

Bonni S. said...

I hopoe to be published soon so thatnks for the information. I will be prepared when someone wants to chop my baby into bits.

For Your Eyes Only~Author Lani Rhea said...

I'm ready for my baby to be chopped to shreds once I submit to Decadent. I will always hold the original in a separate file. =) This was a great post, Katie! Thanks for sharing with us and reminding us that this is a group effort, that there are people out there who are ready and willing to give a helping hand. You included.

Harlie Reader said...

Great post. I'm a beta reader and CP for some authors. I'm a newbie writer and I really appreciate it when a CP tells me my stuff is crap. It only makes you better in the long run.

Harlie Reader said...

Thanks to everyone that a writer accountable and better.

books4me said...

thank you for reminding us of the people behind the companies that make sure readers get the best stuff possible!

books4me67 at ymail.com

hotcha12 said...

THANKS FOR THE CONTEST AND GOOD LUCK ALL!

IF ANYONE WANTS TO HELP OUR AFGHANISTAN TROOPS WHO ARE IN NEED OF BOOKS PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL AND I'LL FORWARD THE LETTER TO YOU!

linda_bass@sbcglobal.net

Liz said...

got THAT right sister....my favorite CP comment recently: "Damn baby, did you forget the LUBE? Ouch!"

thanks for this post dear. thank God for Betas/CPs and really great editors ! oh, and beer.

Liz

Ryssa Edwards said...

Edittor, how du I love the, leet me county thee weighs. . . This is what my writing would look like without an editor!

I've worked with many talented editors over the years. They are both demanding and inspiring.

Thanks for writing this Katie!

JoAnne Kenrick said...

Here, here! I've learned so much from those brave enough to work with me on edits, from my beta-readers and from writer friends who dish up the harsh truth. And I love them for it. I'd still be in a lot of slush piles if it weren't for the patience and smart comments said people have given me. Love to you, each and every one of you, who have helped me along my writing path. YOU ROCK!

Maureen said...

It's a learning experience! Would be fun to have a writer's parade...with all our background support in their own uniform!

Barbara Elsborg said...

Ditto, ditto! My first drafts are AWFUL!!!!!!!