How To Work With An Editor

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I’ve had a lot of really, really good editors in my career. The student news editor at my high school newspaper—not my English teacher!—taught me grammar. My first pro newspaper editor showed me the ropes and guided me away from dozens upon dozens of stupid errors. The fiction editors I’ve worked with recently have strengthened my novels and stories immeasurably; they’re generally always better at pacing and structure than I…


Letter from an Editor

Friday, October 26, 2018

  There are a lot of ways to approach this topic, now that I think about it. We revise our work so many times before it’s published, with feedback from so many different people. After I wrote The Dream Peddler, I went through it twice, then I gave it to a few beta readers, and went back in with their feedback in mind. Then I began to query, and I’ve…


The Best Kind of Editing

Monday, April 10, 2017

This week, instead of doing our taxes, the Debs are talking about auditing, err, editing.  In the fall of 2007, I took a novel-in-progress class at Grub Street with instructor and author, Lisa Borders. It was the first time I was showing anyone the novel I was working on, which turned out to be the early drafts of FEAST OF SORROW.  It was there that I met Anjali Mitter Duva,…


My editorial letter: if it’s nice, say it twice

Friday, January 8, 2016

I was in a mild panic when I received my editorial letter. I’m grateful that my editor was especially encouraging. In particular, she wrote a glowing opening in the email and then repeated it in the opening of the word doc letter she attached. I tackled the issues in three parts: 1) the chapter-by-chapter changes she requested 2) the line-by-line edits on the manuscript and 3) the big picture edits….


Teflon, some people. Not me.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

I imagine the easygoing among us don’t remember their first time receiving constructive criticism; teflon, some people, or indifferent. Not me. In primary school the report card system was E for excellent, S for satisfactory, and U for unsatisfactory. I swam in a pool of excellence until the day I received an S in handwriting. By the time my father returned from work I’d been crying so hard for so long I…


A Sea of Red: Being Edited

Book Editing
Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A few years ago, I had an essay accepted at a literary journal. I was over the moon that they wanted my work, and when they informed me I’d be receiving edits, I figured it was no big deal; plenty of journals had tweaked my work, fixing grammatical errors or asking me to clarify a sentence or two. When this literary journal sent me back my work with edits, they…


On Being Edited for the First Time

Monday, January 4, 2016

After the thrill of selling your novel has died down, the next big step on your publishing path is receiving your editorial letter and manuscript notes. Here is what that experience was like for me. My letter and edited manuscript arrived via email when I was traveling, and they fedexed me a hardcopy overnight. We arranged a telephone meeting for early the following week, after I had time to digest all…


Feedback–Where to Find It

Monday, December 7, 2015

  We are talking about feedback this week. From critique partnering to participating in a year-long workshop, I’m pretty sure I have received feedback on THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING in every possible form. So let’s start off with a question. Do you need feedback on your novel? The answer is yes. But it’s important to consider what kind of feedback you need in the moment. Here is…


A Debut Author Gives Thanks

Monday, November 23, 2015

  The first thing I do when I open a new book is read the acknowledgements page. It’s so moving to see the writer expressing appreciation for everyone who has helped her along the way. Before I began writing a novel I used to marvel at how many people an author would thank. How could so many people be involved in the making of something that is such a solitary…


The Savior of Debut Authors…Emily Griffin

Friday, March 13, 2015

I remember the first conversation I ever had with my agent, the marvelous Stéphanie Abou. We were talking about working together, and she said to me in her beautiful French accent, “I know an editor at Grand Central Publishing who will love this book, and I think you will love working with her.” She was talking about Emily Griffin, who did end up saying “yes” to my book. And my agent was…