Sunday, January 16, 2011

Getting over it

Well on re-reading the editorial feedback, it appears that it was not actually as cavalier in its mayhem done to my self-worth than I originally perceived.

Actually, a lot of it is quite good. It breaks down into four main chunks:
  1. Line-editing stuff (comma splices, the occasional ALLCAPS word I missed fixing in my rough draft)
  2. Repeated suggestions that I do a better job of establishing my credentials to write this book, particularly by adding an "About the Author" chapter. (I have no credentials, other than some experience, a genuine interest and a willingness to research the subject)
  3. Request for a Conclusion chapter. I am not actually sure how to write that. The book is a survey and description of a bunch of existing jobs, what would I write as a conclusion? "Self-Employed jobs exist. These are some of them."? That sounds silly.
  4. Suggestions that I reduce the "volume", the examples they gave include the first line of the book:
You do not need permission to earn a living!
and occasionally thoughout the book for emphasis
Budget! This will make a huge difference in your productivity
I see that exclamation points and text decoration (bold, italic, underline, etc) can be a crutch, to bring the author's emphasis to the reader more directly.
On the other hand, I'm a first-time author writing a topical book. If I take enough time to learn and implement a better voice, the book may be out of date. Not only that, I may not write again if I don't find something else interesting to write about. I'd rather use a crutch and finish the book, provided it will not turn the audience off.
So here's how I'm approaching it:

Item #1 is dead-on. 80% of the stuff was mistakes and half of the rest can be easily rephrased. Yes, some of it (Like the Budget! line above) is out-of-bounds on style, but by intent. Let's just assume that during the other changes I make I'll introduce more line errors, and we'll just catch them all at the end.

Items 2 and 3 sound like good ideas. Implementing them without examples would be hard. I'd be happy to do it if I had a clue where to start. Perhaps my conversation with my editor on Monday will help sort that out.

Item #4 may be a matter of taste, but as a completely novice author, I'd rather err on the side of the editor's opinion. Some of the bits sound "right" to me, and the feedback I've gotten from outside readers has been positive on the tone, but I'd be happy to chop 50% of it out, so long as it didn't mean completely abolishing the urgent tone altogether.

OK, wish me luck.

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