Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Information about publishers of GLBT fiction.

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Re: Blue Feather Books interview: August 2008

Postby FranW » 28 Mar 2010, 09:26

Emily Reed wrote:I didn't see this until just now... Sorry, been very busy.

Baker wrote:Who are the editors? Karen Badger's Yesterday Once More credits 'Barbara' with editing in the acknowledgements. Some lesbian books credit the editors on the copyright page, and that's nice to see. Have you ever considered doing that?

Actually, no we haven't, but we might. We're still tinkering with the format of the front and back pages of a book, and that's definitely an idea. Re YOM and Barb -- that would be her partner, in this case, and not one of our editors...

Editing in lesbian fiction in general--I'm not talking about any one publisher--seems to be...uneven. So, I'm wondering if Blue Feather have any requirements they look for in a person they consider as an editor? You say that they're extremely competent. How do you judge this? Do you get much reader feedback on this?

I absolutely agree with your comment on lesbian editing in general, although I should say that I've seen some hideous mainstream editing jobs. Usually when the writer gets too big for their britches, and they'll be published (and probably sell) no matter what. Some of Stephen King's interminably long books come to mind. Could have been significantly chopped. But I digress.

Nann Dunn is our senior editor. Jane Vollbrecht also edits for us -- even before she joined our merry little crew as an author and part of the biz operations. We have a couple more, but I'm reluctant to say without asking them first. Although I think they're darn good. I'll ask, and if given permission, will post. And we've had a few people offer their services, more on that further below.

Every single book, after the back'n'forth stage between editor and author, goes through Caitlin and me for proofing and yet another line edit. And not to pat ourselves on the back or anything, but we're pretty good at what we do. In some cases (Merker's comes to mind) the book is so complex that it goes through two paid editors before it goes through C and me. That's fairly rare, though. What requirements do we have? Good editorial skills. :eyebrows: Usually we'll send out a piece of unedited work, a few chapters or something, and see what we get back. In our experience, it's been extremely hard to reach Nann's standard.

I know authors for whom the level of editorial input--and whether they can learn anything from an editor--is an important part of their decision of who to publish a manuscript with. What hard, cold facts about the Blue Feather editors and editorial process can you give us that might persuade authors that this is something they might have confidence in if they signed a book with Blue Feather?

The hard, cold facts might not entice authors to publish with us, actually. We expect the author to learn from the editing process. Many authors started writing in the fanfic world, and have beta readers to give them advice. Typically this advice might take the form: "Oooh, that's wonderful". This is very detrimental to the author. Especially when she gets the first edit back, chock-full of red lines and requests for rewrites. We've been extremely fortunate that our authors have rallied from the experience, and are willing to work with the editors, and put it the sweat to make their books better.

Oh, and I should mention that we have a writers' group where we've posted 10 basic editing lessons done by someone who does this for a living. We require all our authors to revise their mss following those guidelines before the ms ever gets to the editor. Some do better than others flying solo, though.

As I said, we don't publish huge volumes, and we don't announce firm publication dates, mostly because we want to give the editing process as much time as it needs.

And that's my rather long-winded $0.02


Off to peruse the rest of the forum for new stuff, now that real life has let up some!
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