Friday Fundamentals: Choosing the Right Editor

Happy Friday, friends!

This time last week I was just starting a fabulous weekend at ConGregate, one of my favorite conventions, and thinking about the panel I was to sit on later that night: Finding the Right Editor.

It was a great panel, or at least I thought so. Sharon Stogner, Leona Wisoker, and I were the panelists discussing what a writer needs to consider when hiring a freelance editor. Since I talked a good bit about Magical Words during that panel, I thought I’d share some of what we discussed.

We primarily focused on hiring editors for either self-publishing or when looking for a publisher and/or agent since a lot of this doesn’t apply so much to publisher-assigned editors. Some does, so take what you want.

We compared finding an editor to dating, which actually works out really well.

Decide you want a date:

First, […]

Continue reading Friday Fundamentals: Choosing the Right Editor

Getting What You Ask For

I should warn you ahead of time – what I’m about to say may upset one or two of you out there. I don’t mean to cause anyone any harm, but I also need to communicate what I’m feeling. So if you’re the fragile type, here’s a picture of some happy little baby bats. Just stare at them and smile.

Okay, for the rest of us, here goes. Many, many times I hear writers complain how much they hate getting form rejections from editors, because such things do nothing to help them understand why the editor didn’t want to buy their story. Editors don’t understand, they cry, that writers can’t fix stories if they aren’t told what went wrong in the first place. Some writers say editors are lazy, others think they’re cruel. For whatever reason, it’s always the editor’s fault.

A couple of years ago, David Coe approached […]

Continue reading Getting What You Ask For

Lessons Learned Editing an Anthology

We’re pleased to welcome a guest and friend of Magical Words, A C Thompson, who’s here today to talk about her recently released anthology of paranormal Sherlock Holmes stories, An Improbable Truth! 14 authors of horror and mystery have come together to create a unique anthology that sets Holmes on some of his most terrifying adventures. A pair of sisters willing to sacrifice young girls to an ancient demon for a taste of success, a sinister device that can manipulate time itself, and a madman that can raise corpses from the dead are just a few among the grisly tales that can be found within these pages. Take it away, AC!

* * * * Do not adjust your monitors, its true— the Southern Belle from Hell herself is guesting today at Magical Words. (Really, I just think your regular poster, Misty Massey, was desperate to not write this week.) […]

Continue reading Lessons Learned Editing an Anthology


So today I want to talk to you about deadlines. A deadline is the date an editor or publisher sets as the last possible moment an assignment is due in their hands. The deadline is usually decided based on the publication schedule, and there’s not often a lot of wiggle room. Writers who meet their deadlines (or turn in their work early) are an editor’s dream.

At the moment, I’m more of the nightmare variety.

I owe a certain editor (who is handsome and charming and delightful and the life of any party and gosh what else can I think of to flatter him with right this second) a story for an upcoming anthology. At this very second, I’m not the last person to turn in a story, and as soon as I finish writing this post, I’m going to work on finalizing my story so I can keep that […]

Continue reading Deadlines

Authors’ Checklist of Dos and Don’ts

Another of my Agent Anonymous articles originally published in the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) Bulletin:

Authors’ Checklist of Dos and Don’ts

You may be right; I may be crazy.

Absolute props to Billy Joel for…well, his entire opus of work, but I can tell you right now that it’s definitely not a lunatic we’re looking for in publishing. What we really want are people as professional as they are talented, who understand about business, time management, promotion and communication. So, I’m going to hit hard on some dos and don’ts, because what seems obvious to some is not to others. And it’s always better to spot and avoid the pitfalls rather than stepping into them.

Let’s begin at the beginning (at least of the business end of publishing): submissions.

Don’t: Rush your work out the door. Whether you’re a beginning writer or a publishing pro, […]

Continue reading Authors’ Checklist of Dos and Don’ts

It Takes a Village

I hear an awful lot about self-publishing these days. For some, it works great, like those who have a solid platform and built-in audience, especially if they excel at writing, revising, copyediting, designing covers and lay-out, marketing and all those other things that go along with successful publication. But who among us is talented enough to do all that =and= find time to write?

There was a great op ed piece in The Huffington Post a couple of days ago by Phillip Goldberg on “Who Needs Publishers? We All Do!” I’d like to add my two cents with a list of all the people who contribute to the success of a book and what they do, because it really does take a village.

Agent: Your agent is your champion, your first sounding board for ideas, and your first editor—beyond a critique partner or group. I could do a whole post […]

Continue reading It Takes a Village

Special Guest: Jessica Wade!

Greetings, dear readers!

I’m Jessica Wade, and I’m an editor at Ace and Roc, the science fiction and fantasy imprints of Penguin. The lovely Faith (AKA Gwen) Hunter asked me to write a guest post for you all, and in this case I’m going to follow the age-old dictate that says ‘write what you know’ (strange advice for fantasy writers I suppose!) and try to give a sense of what it is that I do as an editor—mostly how I shepherd a book through to publication. I hope that getting a feel for what goes on after a book is bought will be of interest, and will maybe shed some light on what sometimes seems like the faceless military-industrial complex of publishing.

So. What is it that an editor does? The answer varies from house to house, and from imprint to imprint within each house (the imprint being […]

Continue reading Special Guest: Jessica Wade!