Publication 2: Editor’s Comments

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This is the second in a series of posts on the publication process.  I’m following the progress of my new novel, Arcadia, in its metamorphosis from manuscript to book.

After delivering a complete draft, I wait for my editor to comment. I’m lucky that my editor reads fast, so I don’t wait too long.  In this case, my editor and agent both finished my book over the Labor Day weekend.  I talked to both about their impressions.  When I talk to my editor, I take notes, and I’m careful to write down all her questions.  I’ve already done quite a bit of revision on my own, but now I’ll be revising with her queries in mind.

Even more important than our phone conversation will be the memo my editor writes me.  I like a written response because by its nature, a letter requires my editor to articulate, prioritize, and develop each point in a way that free flowing conversation does not.  This is our fifth book together, so we know each other well.  We trust and respect each other.  As in every editorial relationship there’s give and take.  I tend to agree with most points–although not all.   We talk about character development, back story, drama, pacing, all the elements of a narrative.

After I receive my editor’s memo and think hard about it, I will start revising.   When I finish my revision, I’ll send her the new draft, and then we will generally repeat the process for a second revision together!   Judging from past books, this process will take several months.  Only when we’re both satisfied, will the book will move on to the copy editor.

What I enjoy about working with my editor is the chance to discuss my work as it develops.   When I finish a draft, I trade solitude for dialog with an astute reader.

4 Responses to “Publication 2: Editor’s Comments”

  1. Andrew says:

    Months?!? Really? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? I jest of course, but I am looking forward to your new novel.

    One question though, you mentioned getting feedback from both your editor and agent but only describe the process that you go through with your editor. I assume things happen somewhat differently with your agent?

  2. Gabriele Case says:

    For a second, I was confused, thinking “but I’ve already read Arcadia. I read Lauren groff’s Arcadia which cam out earlier, can’t quite remember when.

    Whatever the title, I am eagerly awaiting your next novel. I loved the Cookbook Collector, and just finished Kaaterskills Falls, a book which moved me more than I expected.

  3. Thank you, Gabriele! Yes, Lauren Groff wrote a book with that title. Tom Stoppard also wrote a famous cycle of plays called “Arcadia.” I thought a lot about using Arcadia, but in the end, decided it was a classical title, our works are extremely different, and we could all share. Excited for you to see the new book when it comes out :)

  4. Andrew, yes, I do get feedback from my agent, as well–although she limits herself to general impressions. She always says–”I’m not an editor!” My editor is the one who gets into the details. Thank you for writing!

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