Wednesday, August 28, 2013


This will be another short post (Do I hear someone say, “Good”?) Because this week I’m swamped with writing work I must finish.

1. Polish the woman-in-jeopardy mystery my friend and I wrote together a long time ago. It’s been sold twice (contracts from MWA approved publishers) and had to be cancelled, and now we’re trying again.

2. Put a backlist romance novel on Amazon all by myself. (Well, hubby helps since I am tech-illiterate.) At the last minute I decided to change the cover picture so am waiting for the artist to do that for me. After that comes the hard part, promotion.

3. The editor of a major publisher (not the Big-5 but I never send to them) has asked to see the entire manuscript of the first book in my cozy mystery series. I never send a book out without reading it from the top to be sure there are no typos or other problems, so I’m doing that right now.


I was amazed recently to find that copy editors can be so different. I’ve heard that, as a cost-cutting measure, publishers - even major ones - are out-sourcing, or eliminating those jobs. That would explain why the same book went to two different places and was copy-edited with vastly different results.

The first editor, although overlooking two typos I found later, made no changes except to take out the asterisks I had placed in the text to separate scenes within chapters. As you know, those separations are made when there is an important change from one scene to the next, for example, time or day, location or setting, or viewpoint. Mine were viewpoint and time changes, and, if the book had been published that way, imagine the confusion of the reader when she was transferred to another world in one paragraph.

The second editor, reading the identical book a couple of months later, wrote comments and changes on 325 of the 350 pages of the novel. This person professed to know everything about movie and television production, law enforcement, police procedures, child custody, judges, restaurant operations, medicine and hospitals, even fashion and food.

Yes, that’s the book I mentioned in the beginning of this post. My co-author and I were so confused, we pulled the book and are querying another publisher. Oh well. Maybe next time.


  1. Even in editors there are those who believe that they know everything there is to know about everything there is to know about.
    And why anyone would remove the scene breaks is a head shaker. But I'm glad you were vigilant enough to catch the issues and knew when to pull the book.

    I have an excellent editor, her name is Faith Free-woman and she's with in case you decide to self-publish.
    Write on,
    Teresa Reasor

    1. Teresa:
      Thanks for the comment and the name of the editor you like. I'll make a note. Yet, it's sad to find some editors are actually clueless.

  2. I have had excellent copy editors and really, really overworked copy editors whose minds clearly weren't on the job.

    In all fairness, as an example, I was exhausted writing the last book of the contract and the copy editor was clearly overworked, as he readily admitted he was dumping my manuscript into text, and we would both edit from the proof pages.

    I am looking forward to self publishing this year and paying a copy editor to go over the work!

    1. Gillian:
      I guess when the author is paying the copy editor herself it's taken more seriously. More and more of my author friends are self-publishing for that and other reasons. Good luck with yours.

  3. In Part 1 of one of my Writing Dictionary blogs, I talk about the difference between editing and copy editing - see And I've just updated the brochure for Best Foot Forward, an editing/copy editing service, by defining the differences (which are major) once again. Alas, e-publishing and indie-publishing now force editors to be BOTH. And it's quite a challenge. But nothing smooths a book out better than good advice in both departments. When I see a book which no one has attempted to edit, it's a wall-banger.

    1. Grace:
      I love your description of an unedited book - "a wall-banger"! Thanks so much for the information.


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