Hi, welcome to the Library of Erana and thank you for talking to us today.
A pleasure to be here, and thanks for having me.
Please introduce yourself. My name is Scott M. Sandridge. I’m both a writer and an editor, and sometimes a reviewer. I have close to thirty short stories published and over sixty reviews. I was a slush reader for Ray Gun Revival from 2006-2007 and then the managing editor of Fear and Tembling Magazine from 2007-2011. I currently edit freelance.
I also recently edited three anthologies for Seventh Star Press: the two-volume A Chimerical World anthologies (Tales of the Seelie Court and Tales of the Unseelie Court) and Hero’s Best Friend: An Anthology of Animal Companions.
How did you get into this line of work? I kinda got sucked into it. After publishing a couple of my short stories, the Overlords at Ray Gun Revival asked me if I’d like to be a slush reader for them. And I’ve always had a hard time saying no to anything. Later, when Fear and Tembling Magazine was launched by Double-Edged Publishing, the same company RGR was under, I was asked to do some slush reading for F&T. A couple months after launch, the managing editor had to step down, so I took up the reins (which I originally had planned to be only temporary until a new editor was found).
I still consider F&T to be one of the major highlights of my editing career, due to me (at that time an untested managing editor) and a ragtag bunch of very talented slush readers and assistants (all of us volunteers) managed to take an online zine seemingly destined to die at infancy and transformed it into a zine so awesome that it ended up being part of a featured article in Rue Morgue.
Are there genres you refuse, if so why is that? Do you have any you love? I love anything involving Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. I’m also okay with the occasional Mystery or Thriller. I’ve never yet been asked to edit a Romance. *shrugs*
Are you also a writer? If so do you self-edit or do you use the services of another editor? I self-edit because I’m one of the rare writers who actually can edit my own work. Although, when not pressed by deadlines, I’ll go through beta readers and such.
What are your opinions of self-edited work by authors? If you can, do it. If you can’t, don’t. But if you do, make damn sure you can.
Have you ever refused a manuscript? Only once. I expect manuscripts to be in standard manuscript formatting. While I’m forgiving of minor variances, one time I had to say no simply because the whole entire manuscript was such a complete and utter mess that it would have taken me twice as long to format it before I could even start to edit.
Have you ever had an author refuse your suggestions/changes? If so how did you deal with it? A few times. Most authors are very professional about it, even when they refuse. And yes, while it’s the author’s right to refuse an editor’s suggestions, there is a right way and a thousand wrong ways to go about doing so. Only twice have I encountered a writer who was a total jerk about it. I’ve never bothered to work with those two since.
Editors often receive a bad press in the writing community, what are your thoughts on this? Whatever you’ve heard about us, we’re a million times more evil. MWAHAHAHAAAA!!!
Nah! Editors are people too, unlike corporations….
Please could you tell us about the process involved with editing for, say, a 100k word Manuscript. Similar to editing shorter works, but takes longer and is much more involved. The first thing I’ll do is read a few pages in order to get a good grasp of the author’s voice, so as to avoid ruining his/her voice in the later stages. Next I’ll go through and edit for content (what scenes work, what scenes don’t, which characters need more development or just plain suck and need removing), paying extra attention to the beginning and end. As I edit for content, I’ll note any typos etc. I come across. Once the content editing is done, I then concentrate on proofreading (remember the notes I took on typos? Helps the proofreading part go faster when you’ve already tackled half of them). After that, I’ll do a final skimming once-over before sending it back to the author.
When doing the work for a publisher, I’ll also format the manuscript so that it’ll be ready for publishing as soon as the author approves the proofs. Whether or not I insert page numbers, etc., depends entirely on how the publisher wants it done (and that often depends on the technology/software being used to publish the book).
What is the difference between proof-reading and editing? Proofreading is when your main concern is spelling and grammar. It often involves minor corrections and, rarely, a reworking of phrases or entire sentences. Editing is where you do full content editing, and is often a process you do with the author. After all, when you need whole paragraphs removed or the entire first chapter changed, it’s best to make those as suggestions to the author than to just do them yourself. A good writer will take your suggestions and come up with something even better than what you had originally suggested.
Do you have part of the process you really enjoy? Is there a part you don’t? I always enjoy seeing the finished product. J
But the process itself often leaves me feeling like, “Blaaah! Why is this taking me so loooooong!??” But then, if I didn’t feel that way at some point during the process, I’d start to worry that I’m doing something wrong. Lol!
Outside of your work as an editor do you read for pleasure? What genre do you enjoy the most? When not reading as an editor, I’m usually reading as a reviewer, so I rarely read just for pleasure anymore. And even then, it’s hard to shut down Editor Brain in order to do so. There’s even been days when I’ve forgotten what pleasure reading can even feel like.
If so do you find yourself editing the work as you go or are you able to “switch off?” Sometimes I can switch off. Most of the time, though, I can’t. And all it takes to switch it back on is just one glaring typo….
What advice would you give to someone starting out as an editor? Develop a thick skin, ‘cause haters are gonna’ hate.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-edit? You can’t go wrong with Strunk & White’s Elements of Style. Read it. Religiously.
Tell us a silly fact about yourself. I’m a Gemini, which means that everything I said above I am in support of and in complete disagreement with all at the same time. No I’m not! Yes I am!
Please add any links to your blog/website etc.
A Work in Progress/SpecMusicMuse blog: http://smsand.wordpress.com
FB Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/smsandwrites
I’m at a few other places, but the above three are where I’m at most often.
Oh, and you can find me on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Scott-M.-Sandridge/e/B00JPSIV3Q/