When romance authors choose to self publish, they become solely responsible for bringing their book into the world. As their own publishers, authors must contemplate release dates, price points, genre categories, cover art… The responsibilities can be daunting.
And hiring a freelance editor is part of those responsibilities.
Finding the right romance editor can be difficult (and I’ve written about it before here, though I’d change a few things about that post now). But, once an author has chosen her romance novel editor, there are things–in addition to pricing, turn around times, etc.–the editor needs to know.
3 Things Romance Novel Editors Need to Know
#1 Anything nonnegotiable in the manuscript. Are there things that absolutely cannot be cut? A self-publishing author has no publishing house rules to follow, and she has no line requirements to meet. It’s up to authors to decide if they want their books to be quirky or about mismatched love.
Last week, an author told me three things in her novel were most important: humor, pets, and slow-burning tension. The edits I offer will help build the slow-burning tension and help make the pets and humor more meaningful. That’s not to mean I won’t redline a joke or remove a pet from a few scenes. It means I understand the type of book the author is wanting to write, and I will edit her manuscript to fit her “publishing house line” specifications.
#2 Is there time for a rewrite? No editor wants to tell their author a rewrite is needed. Ever. And no matter how much we wish it–not all authors have movable deadlines. Sometimes a rewrite just isn’t possible, and editors need to know this.
When I have a manuscript that (in my opinion) requires a rewrite and I know that rewrite cannot happen, it’s my job to brainstorm solutions. Sometimes authors postpone their book release. Sometimes authors do some quick editing and release the book. The ultimate “rewrite” decision is the authors’, but I try to offer edits the author can actually accomplish. (It’s what they pay me for.)
#3 Are there any edits that are out of the question? This seems like an echo of question number one, but I rarely get the same answers. Once, I was told, “I changed the point-of-view of a scene once and it blocked me for a month. I’d rather never do that again.” Guess what I tried to avoid recommending? Point-of-view being changed in a scene. (And if I had recommended it, I at least knew to do it gently and with great encouragement.)
Have a question or additional thoughts? Leave a comment!
This article assumes authors have discussed price and turn-around deadlines with their romance novel editor.