Want to know more about the life of an editor? We're reviving our popular "Meet the Editor" topic, and introducing you to more EC editors. Today, Grace Bradley interviews herself.
What is your background and experience in editing?
I have been an editor at Ellora’s Cave for two years. Prior to that I was doing the stay-at-home-mom thing and enjoying freelance editing on the side. I hold a degree in psychology, which I utilize on a daily basis. Plausible character motivation? Check. Walking author back from the ledge? Check.
How would you describe your editing style?
I try to make the editing process as painless as possible, while also urging my authors to delve deeper into their plot and characters. I leave a running commentary of my observations as a reader, not only as an editor, as I go through the book. My goal is for the author to see how their work is impacting me as a reader as I go along. I also explain grammar errors, and expect my authors to make note of them and improve moving forward. Whenever possible, I like to incorporate humor in my editing comments. I think edits should be fun, not dreaded. And I point out things I really like or that make me laugh (or cry). A little bit of praise goes a long way when an author is being shown all the things that are not working in their book.
What is your favorite thing about editing?
My authors. It is truly an honor to play such a vital role in their careers, and I’m humbled that they trust me with something so important to them.
As for the job itself, I’ll say what most editors will say: I can’t believe I get paid to read. A recent discussion at the dinner table revolved around careers—specifically what my children wanted to be when they grow up. They both said they wanted to get paid to do something they love…just like their mom. It was a very proud moment for me.
What are your pet peeves in books and submissions?
My number-one pet peeve from the slush pile is a messy manuscript. If the author does not care enough to present their best work, I will assume what they have submitted is their best work and it will be a No. If they’re sloppy at this stage, the most important one in the process, how will they be if the book is contracted?
For established authors, my pet peeve is not learning from past mistakes and not following established guidelines. I respect my authors’ time by working as hard as I can to get their projects complete in a timely manner, and I expect them to respect my time by improving as they move forward and observing the correct submission/editing procedures.
For personal reading, what are your favorite genres and all-time favorite books?
When I’m not reading for work, I choose non-fiction, primarily health-related, and magazines. A very short list of some of the books that have “stuck” with me is:
Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
Crazy, Sexy Diet by Kris Carr
Native Son by Richard Wright
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell
Love Music, Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark