A Word from Eve Arroyo
A lot of people are curious about the editing process, so I interviewed my editor and co-conspirator Eve Arroyo. I wanted to share some of her best advice with fellow authors, friends, and fans.
Q1: Having been the editor for best-selling authors, mainstream and erotica, what is the biggest advice you can give to writers?
Regarding love scenes, you’ve got to make sure it all works, physically. Part A has got to be able to meet part B without disrupting the laws of physics! My late husband once came upon me with one foot on the floor, one on the coffee table, trying to see if what I’d just read was possible. It wasn’t!
For the rest of it, you want to look at writing as an art, something to learn about and practice. I believe wholeheartedly in reading books and blogs on writing and writer’s groups that give good, honest feedback and constructive criticism. Your family and friends are not going to help you become a good author; they already think you’re God’s gift to literature. You need unbiased advice and direction.
Q2: Say, for example, someone wants you to be their editor. How does the process normally work?
Usually, I dialogue with them first, finding out their genre, length of the book, etc. Then, if we’re both still interested, I do a sample edit on their first chapter. This is important because it gives me the chance to see if they’re ready to be edited or need to hook up with a writer’s group to hone their skills a bit. It also allows me to make a determination of the skill level, and to come up with a fair price.
Second, the author gets to decide if they like my style and if they think they can work with me.
If we’re both happy, and the price is agreed upon, the author sends me their MS. I’ll let them know, then, what my schedule is like.
After the author makes their revisions, the MS is sent back to me for a second edit.
I don’t do proofreading, but have an associate who does, for an additional cost.
Q3: What are the average turnaround times for the different types of editing people request?
It all depends on the length and the amount of work required. Generally, something that is around 50,000 words or less will take about five days once I start.
The second edit takes about half the time of the first, unless there are major rewrites.
Q4; Can an indie author request a review of an incomplete work?
Absolutely. This is a collaboration.
For my clients, I’m always available for phone or text consultations—before, during, or after the story is written. If the author isn’t sure about an idea or direction of the piece, I’m more than happy to do a pre-edit. I can do an edit, just take a listen to get the idea, look at an outline, or read selected chapters to let the author know how they’re doing.
It’s not unusual at all for me to receive a paragraph or chapter for an opinion. Or a request for grammar or punctuation help in the middle of writing a scene. Or to talk an author down, who has their finger on the delete button!
Q5: What should indie authors expect from their editor?
First and foremost, someone they can work with. Their books are their babies. I give my best opinion based on experience and my resources, but the author has the ultimate control. I try to be professional, kind, and friendly, and it won’t hurt my feelings if the client disagrees with me. I’ve had a bit of back and forth with various clients, some points I prevailed on, some I didn’t. It’s all about the author publishing a work that sells and that they can be proud of.
They should also expect clear communication from their editor regarding the work and timelines.
For more information, please visit Eve.