Thursday, August 21, 2014

Editor Appointments

Some years ago I met with an editor at a writing conference. She very graciously gave me a significant amount of time to look at my non-fiction manuscript. Amongst other things she told me that I was hiding behind other peoples’ experiences. I had filled the book with illustrations and quotes from other people. This seemed reasonable to me, after all, they were obviously more spiritual and better writers than me! Yet what she said resonated with me and I knew it was true. I felt like she was looking straight into my soul. After the conference I went home and rewrote the whole book.

I have worked with other editors both before and after this incident and often they say things about my writing that deep down I know are true. But I haven't been able to fix the problem because either I haven't wanted to admit the truth or I have been standing too close to know how to fix it. Editors bring unbiased eyes to a manuscript where their sole concern is the quality of the writing not the fragility of the author's ego. This is what you want in an editor, although it can be painful. I feel very ambivalent when I receive work back from an editor. I can't wait to read what they think but I dread all the alterations they suggest.

At most conferences there are lots of opportunities to talk to editors, publishers, consultants and peers about your work. Although this may be a scary thing to do, to put your work in the public arena, it is also very beneficial and helpful. It will make for a better manuscript and turn you into a better writer, especially if editors keep correcting the same mistakes (I speak from experience!).

At the upcoming Christian Writers Conference the following people are available for appointments:
  • Rochelle Manners - Wombat Books and Rhiza Press
  • Kris Argall - Acorn Press
  • Deb Porter - Breath of Fresh Air Press
  • Penny Reeve - Children’s Book Consultations
  • Iola Goulton - Christian Editing Services
  • Nola Passmore - Write Flourish Freelance Writing and Editing Services
  • Wendy Sargeant - Editing Services
  • Rowena Beresford - Editor

  • If you are attending the conference (or considering attending) and interested in making an appointment with a particular editor or publisher, forms are available via this link (scroll down to Appointments): Conference Appointments


    Susan Barnes likes to write devotional thoughts on Bible passages, book reviews and inspirational articles. She loves to challenge people's thinking and regularly blogs at She is also a librarian and pastor's wife.


    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences with editors Susan. I've experienced both sides of the coin in that I've critiqued other people's manuscripts and I've also had mine critiqued. I've learned so much from being on both sides of the fence. When you give someone a manuscript that you think is pretty good and it comes back covered in red pen or 'track changes', you can think 'Oh no, it must be terrible'. But I know when I've sat down and tried to look at the comments objectively, I've realised that I still have a lot to learn. I don't think we ever stop learning, but we can all keep improving. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Thanks Nola and yes, we are always looking for better ways of expressing the message we feel God has put on our hearts.

    2. Thanks, Susan. I think you have made the need for good editing really clear from your own experience. And what a great line-up of editors/publishers for authors to choose from at the Writers' Conference! I have encouraged quite a few new authors I know to come to the conference and I am hoping some of them at least will take advantage of a consultation with an editor as well.

      1. Thanks Jo-Anne for getting the word out about the conference. It is indeed a great opportunity to get some feedback.

    3. I hope many people take advantage of the great number of experienced people available to consult with in October. How great, that they are all offering their time at the same venue.

      1. Thanks Paula, I hope so too. I find face to face appointments a great way to get to know an editor/publisher and whether they are going to be a good 'fit'.

    4. How lovely and helpful this editor was for you, Susan. What a blessing!