Should You Hire an Editor?

When I made the transition from short stories to novels and made the decision to publish my work, I had no idea how the publishing world worked. I envisioned an editor pouring me a glass of whisky and making suggestions while I sat in front a roaring fireplace making notes.  Maybe I wasn’t that idyllic, but close. Needless to say, that’s not how it works.

As a self-published author I have contracted with an editor for the entire editing and development of my novels. I’d recommend that for any author that wishes to self-publish. But what about authors who choose to pitch queries, hope to land an agent and then a publisher? You still should hire your own editor and this is why. When you submit queries your novel must be complete. All agents require a complete novel or they won’t respond to your query at all. Typically with your query, agents require a chapter or a number of pages. You want these pages and your entire novel to be submission ready. You want the best possible version of your work out there. Not anything short of what you consider to be story and copy perfect.

The next important decision is aligning yourself with an editor. I use the word “aligning” intentionally because you are glued to each other’s sides for the duration of your project. Maybe not literally, but definitely figuratively. Each editor has a style and so do you. Contact as many editors as necessary, have each one give you a sample edit on about six pages of your novel, meet in person if you can, have long conversations about whatever and anything, and evaluate your compatibility. Compatibility is the key. An editor that you are compatible with will coach you, urge you to make better writing decisions and encourage you to turn out your best work.  With a great editor, all of this will happen without you even knowing it.

Where do you find an editor? Start with referrals, then look online. I have built an entire publishing team by doing internet research. There are many, many freelance editors out there. Do the research, make a list, and start interviewing. It can be time consuming, but in the end it will be quite worth it.

Good luck to you. Your amazing novel is just around the corner.

Yours in writing,

Laura Albright

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Call Me Emily: 3 1/2 Stars by Bookend Reviews

I about fell out of my chair when I saw that Call Me Emily had been reviewed. And 3 1/2 stars. Not bad…

Here is a quick excerpt from the review, but please read the full review here. One small correction. The review mentions “Jose.” She means “Joel.”

Call Me Emily – Laura Albright * * * 1/2

Oh, Emily….You made the biggest mistake. The mistake that 90%* of the female population makes at one point or another. “Call Me Emily” is a coming of age story through the 1990 college years. Emily is starting her first year at a southern California University. She begins settling in and making friends and one night she meets Graham. Everything changes.

I’m glad that Emily made the choices she made in the end and I’ve marked book two on my “to read” list.

Bookend Reviews

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Dreaming of Deliverance

Recently I’ve been amazed how people enter my life. I know that’s a pretty big statement, but it’s true.  My yoga teacher, my acupuncturist, work colleges that have become friends, parents of my son’s friends, and virtual strangers who have become huge supporters of me and my writing. I feel very fortunate to have these people in my life.

One person in particular, R.E. Chambliss, I met on a committee we both belong to at our children’s school. After hearing her great ideas and witnessing her willingness to donate her time, I learned she is a published author. Naturally, my ears perked up. After the meeting adjourned, I cornered her and forced her to tell me all about her book and how she became published. That conversation led to numerous coffee dates, discussions about writing, and of course, an exchange of books.

I dove into Dreaming of Deliverance last spring. It was the first book I read on my Kindle, which was an experience itself. (Yes, I love my Kindle.) But, back to Dreaming of Deliverance.

It takes place in modern-day California. A college-age girl, Lindsay makes a bad decision and finds herself serving time at a women’s prison. While asleep one night, she slips into a dream world that is so real she finds evidence of it when she wakes. Night after night she continues her adventure, finding in it new challenges and emotions. As time passes, each morning brings sadness that she has returned and each evening brings excitement that she will see her new friends again.

R.E. Chambliss has a truly limitless imagination that finds its way to the page effortlessly. This story pushes the limits of what we consider to be science fiction.  It’s touching, fun, frustrating, desperate and dark at times.  Her characters are full of life and her setting is perfectly depicted. But watch out! With every good story there are twists and turns that surprise the reader. And Dreaming of Deliverance is no exception. Pick it up at amazon.com.

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The One-Sentence Summary

I recently was challenged to write a one-sentence summary of my books. I say that I was “challenged”, making it sound like a live person came to me and actually challenged me, but that wasn’t really the case.  I was reading a blog I often frequent by Rachelle Gardner.  She’s a literary agent that offers some of the best literary advice I’ve found on this huge thing we call “the internet.” On this particular day in May, her post offered a contest to see who could come up with the best one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, hook or pitch. She asked that it be around 25 words (but not more than 45) that capture your novel; almost like a snapshot.  So I thought, humm, how hard can that be? Then I started.

The guidelines asked that I include a character, their conflict, what’s at stake, and the action.  I started with my first book, Call Me Emily. It was about 9:00 in the evening. Then it was 11:00. If I were some mad writer with a typewriter, there would have been crumpled paper everywhere and my head smashing the keys so loudly that I would have woken up my husband. But my little laptop is surprisingly quiet, and even pounding the delete key over and over didn’t wake him. Finally, the next day,  I bounced a couple of my ideas off some friends, but came up empty again. I skipped over Call Me Emily and went on to write pitches for Emily Calls It and Meet Emily. And those one-sentence summaries only took me about twenty minutes to write.

So what this exercise taught me, is that you can’t write a one-sentence summary if you are at all conflicted about the story you are trying to pitch. I took a closer look at Call Me Emily, evaluated my story, and made some changes. Once I gave myself permission to really dig into the story and change things up, the summary practically wrote itself. Well not exactly, but you get the picture.

So here are my one-sentence summaries:

Call Me Emily

When Emily leaves her small town for a big city college, she thinks she’s got it all figured out, but when manipulation, vanity and pleasure enter her life (AKA Graham), she must decide if she can stay true to herself.

Emily Calls It

Emily continues on her path, returning to her home town seeking solace and clarity, but encounters more romantic drama making finding herself a challenge.

Meet Emily

When Emily returns to her home town years later for an event, it doesn’t occur to her who might be in attendance, and how Christian might lead her to question all of her past decisions.

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