Photo Credit: frabz
I’ve been doing a series on the editorial letter, beginning with these two posts:
I’d love to hear about your process in writing your editorial letter.
Basically, before I write an editorial letter, I read through the manuscript and annotate it as I go. Sometimes I find myself writing a really large comment and think, hm, that’s better off explained in a letter. When I’m done with the whole novel, I think about it for a while, usually a day so while the manuscript is still fresh in my mind but I have something coherent to say.
What would one of your writers expect from your editorial letters?
My letters are about 5 pages long. It’s not a rule, it’s just what seems to happen. I don’t have a set breakdown of character, voice, setting, etc. that I address. Every novel is so different. But I find that I usually have to address telling vs. showing. I think this is normal. I think it takes a lot of drafts to dig the telling out of a manuscript. But different authors tell different things. Some people tell emotion, like “he was sad.” Some people tell characterization, like “she was a loyal friend.” And some people tell plot connections, like “that was in the letter he read yesterday.” So showing vs. telling isn’t a boilerplate response.
Writing an editorial letter must be difficult. What is the hardest part about writing it?
The hardest part about writing an editorial letter is worrying about how the author will receive it, especially if the manuscript needs a time-consuming revision. In the end, it’s not my name on the cover and it’s not about me. But I really, really want my authors to get five star reviews. On the other hand, I don’t want to change their stories or imply that I don’t like their voices. I angst over it a lot. My job is mostly delivering bad news, and some authors take it better than others. But it is my job to communicate it well, so if the author feels bad, I’m doing something wrong.
What frustrations do you encounter as an editor during this publishing process?
I’ve worked with a lot of awesome authors! I don’t mind being questioned or having my suggestions pushed back. It actually makes me nervous when people seem to accept everything I say. Like, really? I was totally perfect and understood everything and my opinion will be shared by everyone? It’s very hard to walk the line between what bothers me and what readers will like. I just hope my authors know I’m trying my best to think like a reader and get them those glowing reviews and fans clamoring for the sequel.
Tell us about some of the books that you have been working on and what we have to look forward to.
I have some fantastic books in the works, and I don’t want to leave any out. LUCK OF THE DRAGON by Susannah Scott just released from Entangled Covet, and that novel is a lot of fun, a great read. I’m so excited for her reviews and sales. Her hard work paid off.
Kate Fall, Associate Editor
Kate Fall is an editor with Entangled Publishing. She previously interned at Rhemalda Publishing, is a member of SCWBI, and has been writing and editing professionally for 14 years. She loves novels with humor, settings that come to life (whether historical, contemporary, or futuristic), and main characters with what the Irish call “a good person’s faults.” She is especially looking for sweet romance for any age group with a well-rounded cast of characters, a love interest down on his luck, unusual American town life, or a unique twist on a time-honored plot. Follow Kate on Twitter at @KateFall.