Friday, March 18, 2011

KJ Kron Interviewed about the Editing Process at SPR

Q: Once your book was selected on Slush Pile Reader, how did they edit your
A: They asked me to send them a file with the entire manuscript on it. They
wanted it in one file from beginning to end. I think they gave me several
choices but I sent it as a word document saved as a Rich Text Format.
Q: How long did it take for them to finish the edits?
A: I’m not entirely sure because it was the end of the grading period. I was
busy. The day I opened the email with the edits I had a stack of essays I
needed to grade by the following day. Imagine – you want to read what they
suggest yet you have to work to do. Terrible temptation.
Q: So what did they send you?
A: Slush Pile Reader sent me two files. The first was a basic overview of the
entire novel and what they wanted done. The second was a file with all the edits
and notes on the manuscript. It was and Adobe document. I’m not too savvy with
Adobe documents. I couldn’t manipulate it. Maybe Slush Pile Reader wanted me
to send the original as an Adobe file.
Q: If you can’t make changes on the Adobe file, how do you edit it?
A: Well first, I wouldn’t want to edit the Adobe file. There’s handwriting on
it – it’s not meant to be edited. What I did was I had my desktop computer on
with the Adobe file and my laptop opened to the word file and I go from one to
the other.
Q: How well was it edited?
A: They did an excellent job. I had my manuscript edited by CreateSpace – just
a brush up type of thing to make sure the grammar was correct. It ended up
costing over a thousand bucks. Johanna, of Slush Pile Reader, found errors that
CreateSpace missed. But she didn’t do just a micro edit; she also did a macro
edit. I believe CreateSpace charges 1,500 to 2,000 dollars for something like
that. When I’m done, she’s going to go through it again. I imagine that she’ll
end up putting about three to five thousands dollars worth of work into Saint
Peter Killed God. And for that I’m extremely grateful.
Q: How much of the manuscript is marked up – lot or a little?
A: There’s more at the beginning because the beginning needed more work.
There’s not too much, probably because I used Createspace. But Createspace
failed to do a few things. For instance, they said they changed all the “Pete”s
to “Peter” and all the “Steven”s to “Steve”s – and guess what Johanna found?
Damn Createspace.
Q: Are you mad at Createspace – or Johanna for any of the changes they’ve
A: Johanna – definitely not. A writer needs a strange personality. You have to
be cocky enough to write in the first place. It’s pretty narcissist to actually
think that we are writing important enough stories that other people should read
them. At the same time, a writer needs to be insecure enough to accept
criticism if they want to get published. This odd mix of self-confidence and
lack of confidence is what I believe makes a publishable author.
As far as CreateSpace, I am still glad I used them. My manuscript was OK
without the polish, but they made it good enough to post and do well at SPR.
Q: What editing advice is the hardest to do that Johanna suggested?
A: The typos, deletions – little micro things are very easy. The big picture
stuff is a little harder but not too bad. One thing she wants me to do is add
more music. That’s not too big of a deal, but I have to find places where it
works and that takes some time. I think the hardest part is the thought – will
it ever be done?
Q: How long do you think the whole editing process will take?
A: I’m not sure. It took maybe a month for the first batch.. If I didn’t have
a job, I could have probably done it in a week. In way it’s better that it took
longer so I can think about the changes that need to be made before I made them.
But it’s like this, you plug up ten holes and then four more pop up. Plug up
those four and two more appear. In other words, it’s still not done. I have a
few more leaks that need to be plugged up.
SPR told me that they’d like to have the book ready to be released four months
after offering the contract. That means I can’t waste time – I need to edit it
now. I’m hoping it doesn’t take too much longer.

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