While I was still writing my book, I began preparing for the future. I set up Twitter and started collecting followers. I watched a bazillion youtube videos and read a million blogs. Do this! Don’t do that! If you don’t have a college degree, you can’t be a writer! Don’t overuse this word or THAT word! Have a support network! Ding, ding, ding!
Yes, a support network is needed. In the midst of the preparations, I began joining facebook author/writers groups. Do you know how many of those there are? A LOT. One particular group stood out above the rest and it’s still the only one I spend any quantifiable time in. I really hope I used that word correctly.
After a few bad experiences with other editors, and then wading through a mass of ego-strokers who read my first five thousand words, told me how wonderful it was, and then tried to book me, I knew better than to hire someone who couldn’t offer critique. It’s my first book! Of course it needs help. Duh!
Sooo, I asked for advice in my favorite group, Clean Indie Reads. Several people recommended Alex McGilvery who owns celticfrogediting.com. Long story short, I contacted him and sent him the first couple of chapters and his response was something like…
Well, you have a great first paragraph and a great last paragraph, but I can’t do anything with what’s in between them. You have all this back story in here and it doesn’t belong. Get rid of it, fix it, and let me know when you’re done.
This is so NOT verbatim, lol. And Alex is not a meanie in any sense so don’t let me paint that picture. But anywho, he also said that he could tell I had a story that needed to be heard and, this part is verbatim, Do the work!
Oh my goodness, I read what he said and of course I moped around for an entire week. Then I got over myself and hired him. He was the first person to be honest with me. He’s very good at his job and his is the content editor God had for me.
If you’re in the market for a content/structural editor, contact Alex. Do not be thin-skinned about receiving critique; you need it. Everyone does. After I got over the backstory hurdle and Alex was further into the book, I got an email from him that made me cry. IN A GOOD WAY! Golly, people. He’s not scary y’all. Not after you get to know him better anyway. But I knew I could accept his praises because I knew he was honest. My book is better because of him and I’m a better writer because of the things I learned from Alex.
Alex, thank you!