I had such a fun time chatting with fellow writer Kat Caldwell, host of the podcast Pencils&Lipstick, and giving advice for writers including my number one tip: NEVER SEND YOUR FIRST DRAFT TO AN EDITOR.
Even your second and third drafts may not be strong enough, as let’s face it, editors are expensive. You should only send your best work so that you’re not paying someone big bucks to catch flaws you could’ve caught yourself.
Unfortunately, many writers don’t know how to self-edit their early drafts. Kat and I discussed why I created my new course Book Editing Blueprint: A Step-By-Step Plan To Making Your Novels Publishable, a class geared toward beginner and intermediate fiction and creative nonfiction authors. It’s the course that I wish was available when I started writing as it would have saved me a lot of time, money, and aggravation.
Blood, Sweat, And Tears!
Speaking of aggravation, Kat and I also discussed our “blood, sweat, and tears years.” We were aspiring writers in the 1990s, before indie publishing took off, before Kindle, and before the INTERNET! We talked about how new authors today have so many more options than Kat and I did when we were starting out, and how wonderful it is to have writing groups and classes available online so you don’t have to drive to them.
It was fun talking with someone who remembered trudging to the post office to mail a thick yellow envelope with a self-addressed stamped envelope inside, and then the mixed feelings when your SASE eventually wound up in your mailbox. It was probably a rejection, but. . .maybe there was a slim possibility it was a publishing offer with some editing notes???
Rejections From Editors You Want To Pay?
We also fast-forwarded to the present and discussed how as a freelance editor, I’ve worked with beginner authors on 3-4 drafts of their novels, and even then the manuscripts weren’t ready for publication. They wished they could have afforded more rounds of developmental editing, but needed to save money for copyediting and cover design. That was before I created Book Editing Blueprint, which would have saved them money on those early drafts. Kat was telling me about freelance editors she’d come across who wouldn’t even accept beginner writers as clients. These editors tell writers that the manuscript needs a lot of work before they can take on the author as a client, leaving the writer confused. Wasn’t that the point of trying to hire an editor? To make the manuscript better?
Even though there are more oppportunities for authors nowadays, learning the craft is just as important as it was in the 1990s. I hope you enjoy our candid conversation about the writing life, sprinkled with lots of advice for writers. The first 40 minutes discuss the ups and downs of my writing journey and what led me to this point in my career, and then for the rest of the podcast we talk about Book Editing Blueprint and the common mistakes that writers make.
Pencils&Lipstick is for anyone who is a writer, reader or looking for encouragement to develop their creativity. Kat interviews writers, entrepreneurs, artists, and many others. You’ll get audio samples of new books coming out, and she tackles life issues that plague us all.
You can also join her Pencils&Lipstick Facebook group, a growing community where creatives come together to encourage and connect.
To listen to our interview, click here.
Stacy Juba, the founder of Shortcuts for Writers, is a freelance editor and online course creator who teaches authors how to simplify the self-editing process and fit their writing goals into a busy life. Her books include the Storybook Valley chick lit series and the Hockey Rivals young adult sports novels.
Sign up for her free, on-demand masterclass, How to Create Your Editing Game Plan and Fast-Track Your Book: 3 Costly Mistakes to Avoid.