Hi, welcome to the Library of Erana and thank you for talking to us today.
Please introduce yourself. I’m Mia Darien. I’m a self-published author, as well as an editor, cover artist and book formatter. I also work for a book blog tour company. Outside of the literary world, I’m a New England Yankee living in Alabama, a wife and a mother, a geek, and general lunatic.
How did you get into this line of work? As I got into the publishing world, I became interested in helping other authors. I’ve experience in areas that helped me edit, so I edited. Eventually, I realized that I couldn’t give away all this time for free, and it became a profession.
Are there genres you refuse, if so why is that? Do you have any you love? I don’t accept or refuse based on genre, but non-fiction is rare. I always love fantasy, though.
Are you also a writer? If so do you self-edit or do you use the services of another editor? I’m also a writer. Presently, I self-edit, but I apply the same standards, which means I go over every book twice.
What are your opinions of self-edited work by authors? Honestly, if you can avoid it, you should. I don’t have a lot of choice presently, but most authors don’t have the editorial background to be able to edit their own work. So I would always recommend finding an editor if you can.
Have you ever refused a manuscript? No. The closest was one book where I did my first “pass” on it (I always do two), but there were elements that disturbed me and I cut my fee in half and didn’t do the second pass. That’s very rare, however. In fact, it’s only happened once.
Have you ever had an author refuse your suggestions/changes? If so how did you deal with it? Typically, I return the edited manuscript and then let them do as they will. I’m sure that most authors don’t take all my changes. I’m fine with that. My edits are suggestions, not laws. The author is the end word on any story.
Editors often receive a bad press in the writing community, what are your thoughts on this? Honestly, I can’t say I’ve heard much press about editors one way or the other. Every group gets bad press at some time or another. Just have to keep working and keep doing the best job you can.
Please could you tell us about the process involved with editing for, say, a 100k word Manuscript. I don’t do full content editing, but I do offer notes about any large problems I see or inconsistencies. Otherwise, I edit. Every book is read over twice to make sure I catch as much as possible. I don’t always catch everything, but I get most of it. (No one can catch 100%, really.)
What is the difference between proof-reading and editing? To me, proof-reading is the very basics: punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Editing, which is what I do, will fix awkward passages and word choices, make sure that the reading flow of the story is the best it can be.
Do you have part of the process you really enjoy? Is there a part you don’t? It’s very tedious work, if I’m being honest. But I love to work with other authors, be able to delve into their worlds for a while and help make them shine.
Outside of your work as an editor do you read for pleasure? What genre do you enjoy the most? Oh, of course. I love all kinds of genres, but epic fantasy always has a strong place in my heart.
If so do you find yourself editing the work as you go or are you able to “switch off?” There is no switching off once you’ve done it for long enough. I can step away from a given project for a time, but the brain is always in Edit Mode. I find myself editing everything. Family’s facebook posts, closed captioning, traditionally published novels, my own text messages…
What advice would you give to someone starting out as an editor? Be thorough, be cautious, and be kind. You’re handling someone’s hard work, so even if there are lots of problems, don’t be nasty. Be thorough and cautious. Educate yourself about the process.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to self-edit? Educate yourself. Try to put time between the writing and the editing. If you edit immediately, you’ll be too familiar with the words and won’t catch things. Go slow.
…otherwise, don’t do it unless you have to.
Tell us a silly fact about yourself. I still like “Sailor Moon” and even made up my own Sailor Scout for Halloween once when I was a teenager.
Please add any links to your blog/website etc.