My Uncle Burl Barer is an Edgar-award-winning author of a dozen books but that doesn't make the job of writing any easier…in fact, he's having some trouble with is current project.
There is something not right about my current book in progress, and it is driving me crazy. […] So far, at the request of my editor, I've done a complete restructuring of the book, and still it doesn't "sing."
Tomorrow I'm calling "headquarters" – the executive editor — and consulting on what I need to do to make this baby at least hum.
Editors are the inspired clergy of the literature religion. They comfort, admonish and encourage. They bring out the diamond potential in our prolix lumps of coal. I am blessed with the editors at Kensington Publishing, headed by the resilient and insightful Michaela Hamilton. Mike Shol is currently editing the manuscript of Fatal Beauty, and it is all coming together. Whew. I pity authors who don't have the blessing of a world-class editor. I've been very lucky. My first book, THE SAINT: A Complete History was edited by Steve Wilson at McFarland & Co. I doubt I would have snagged the Edgar were it not for his guidance. One of the tragedies of self-published (ie self-printed) books is often the lack of editorial guidance, not to mention the lack of sales.
Sadly, many "self-published" authors have gone the vanity press route because they believe their work is perfect "as-is" and reject any suggestion that their book may be flawed in some way (which is one reason why the self-publishing companies are known as "vanity presses"). These aspiring authors don't recognize the importance of editing and rewriting, of having an experienced, and objective, outside perspective on their work. All they are interested in is seeing their book "in print" as quickly as possible without having to "jump through all those hoops" or letting anyone meddle with their "artistic vision." And that's why so much of what is self-published out there is unreadable slop.