Finding the right editor for your new novel can be a tricky thing. Unless you can get the perfect referral from someone you trust, you may find yourself confounded with complicated and conflicting advice. Your book is your baby, and you can’t just blithely hand off your baby to any old stranger, can you?
You need someone who has the right experience. Someone who understands the nuances of our language, who knows the “rules” and knows when to bend them. You need an editor who will collaborate with you, not one who will shove revisions and corrections down your throat. You also need someone who loves to read and has read widely, not just in your current genre. Just as we learn to speak by listening, we learn to write by reading. Every new page can offer new insight.
I started reading around age 4, zipping past Dick and Jane and diving into Nancy Drew, followed by every YA mystery on the adjacent shelves. Later, I discovered Jules Verne, then Asimov and Herbert, Jack London, and Anne McCaffrey. I read biographies of inventors and statesmen, too, just to add variety.
By high school, I had discovered Robert B Parker, Dean Koontz, Arthur Hailey, Jeffrey Archer, James Michener, Stephen King, and the incomparable John D MacDonald. Then Follet, Puzo, McCullough, L’Amour, Auel, Connolly, Block, and dozens more.
Decades later, I’m still discovering amazing new authors in genres ranging from thrillers and westerns to sci-fi and fantasy. When Game of Thrones went viral on HBO, I gleefully dove into the entire book series from George RR Martin. Like finding buried treasure in your backyard.
These masters of their craft taught me how to write, how to tell a story, and how to keep readers eagerly turning pages and buying new books. Over the years, I wrote a stack of short stories, some of them worth keeping. My first real passion, however, was the process of publishing.
My first foray into publishing began when I was sixteen. Two friends and I founded a monthly magazine and convinced our high school to distribute it to our 800 classmates. My contribution was content and design. Two years later, I held the same position as the managing editor for my college monthly. I took the right classes and considered a career in journalism. That never happened. Life, marriage, kids, and jobs in manufacturing and construction filled my days — but I have never stopped reading, not for a single day.
That love of reading and writing eventually, almost accidentally, led me to a major international content website (a big venture that didn’t survive a merger). My active engagement and networking there landed me a spot as one of four senior editors, each of whom managed their areas of expertise. Mine was Home & Garden, at first. Before the firm folded, I was also writing and selling expert-topic articles for an industry publication. Finally, I was being paid to write stuff on deadline!
When the writing on the wall looks ominous, it’s time to build your own wall. I used the money I had earned from those trade articles to build my own website, SoWrite.Us.com. My goal was to create a place where writers could get some useful advice, as well as get together for writing competitions. I had plenty of help from my good friends from that giant website, and we had fun holding writing contests at first. These days, we hold our contests in SoWrite’s Facebook Group, mainly because it’s socially simple. The website remains today as my editorial HQ.
If you have questions or ideas, please don’t hesitate to contact me.