Were you ever in one of those situations where you haven’t heard someone’s voice for years, yet you would still instantly recognize it the second you heard it? Well, it just happened to me the other day, in the early afternoon hours.
It was around 3:00 p.m. on an ordinary day. I was working on my next book in the Pinnacle series when my phone hummed with an unfamiliar number. I picked it up with some reluctance.
“Is this Michelle?” A woman’s voice asked.
“Wanda?” I answered right away and sunk into a four-hour conversation, catching up on so much.
After that long call ended, I couldn’t stop thinking about Wanda. I was truly excited to rekindle an old friendship; we both felt like we had just picked up from last week. Who would think that after 20 years an old friend would still have my number? I guess only a good friend like Wanda, who I met 23 years ago at the University of South Carolina. Back then, we both were already established and experienced in our nursing careers but were ready to pursue it further. Two years later, our paths took different directions as I relocated to another state. While I retired from the nursing field a few years ago to start writing full-time, Wanda is still committed to the nursing profession and doing her job faithfully, just as I remembered. It’s funny how good friends can summarize 20 years into a four-hour conversation and feel like no time has passed at all.
Two days later, Wanda purchased my book, Pinnacle Lust, texting me she had already read the excerpts and the sample available online. She sounded excited and said she couldn’t wait for the book to arrive and start reading it. “By the way,” she said, “did you first write the book in Hebrew?”
“Why are you asking?” I asked.
“I can tell,” she said.
“Really?” Even though I know Wanda is very good in English and has an extensive vocabulary, it still hurt my feelings.
“Yes, I really can. You know, I could edit this for you,” she said.
I’ll admit, writing is a very complex, individualized process. No two authors are going to think or feel about writing in the same way. It was only after I published my first book, Pinnacle Lust, that I realized the courage it takes to publish your own work, far from just writing it.
I often hear people say, I want to write a book; others just say, I have so much to write about. And then there are the ones who believe their own life is so captivating, they repeatedly say, My life would make a bestseller.
It’s true. Many people want to write a book. We all know that every person has a story to tell in his or her own special way. But is that enough to guarantee someone a bestseller? I’m not sure.
I don’t doubt the potential each story has. Our imagination is endless and is often quite inimitable. It takes more than just a plot to make a good book. It’s the way the novel is written; the opening that grabs you, the development of the characters, the twist and turns as the narrative deepens, the suspense, that pinnacle moment, and, of course, the resolution.
And still then, it may not be enough.
The magic of writing is buried in three things: passion, time and editing. However, one can’t make up for the other. While you are solely responsible for the passion and the time, it’s a bit different when it comes to the editing. You must hire the best, most experienced, editor you can find. Editorial services is a crucial link in the writing process and furthermore in finalizing a manuscript prior to publishing it, or submitting it to an agent. While a good editor can make your book, an average one can harm your work.
Thus, it concerns me when amateurs think they can easily edit a book. Many of whom truly believe they could write their own book without using any editorial services. Some are not shy and have offered to edit my work. Let me edit your book… Trust me, I can do it… I took English in college… I’m very good in English…
If you want to write a book, then be professional and go through the entire process. Use professional services to build your team: editorial services, book cover designers, etc. Even the most well-known, bestselling authors use professional services…you will be in good company.
If you don’t want to write a book and you are not in this business, please don’t offer your services and don’t critique other people’s work. Editing is more than just grammar and punctuation. Creative writing is a world of it’s own.
Like I said to Wanda, “Just try to enjoy the book.”