• Rebecca W Munn
  • [Behind the Book] Hiring a professional editor...one path to an award winning book
[Behind the Book] Hiring a professional editor...one path to an award winning book

Are you in the middle of the writing process, or think you have captured a great story and are ready to move toward to publishing? Have you thought about the value of hiring a professional editor to help turn your good manuscript to great? Or are you afraid of the changes an editor would recommend, not willing to adjust the content further?

The Gift of Goodbye: A Story of Agape Love, my debut memoir, was published July 18, 2017, eleven years after I started writing my story. Yes, eleven long years. The first five years were mostly filled with starts and stops, while I grieved my deep losses and started to heal, a very cathartic process. A friend of mine, a fellow female author, had recommended She Writes as a supportive community as I continued to write and break down my walls of protection. As I considered what I would need to successfully transition from finishing my manuscript to publishing a book, I thought about how I approached similar decisions in areas where I was a novice. I also sought advice from friends on how they approached similar decisions. I quickly realized that when I am in a situation where I was facing a first experience, something significant like pouring my heart out on pages for the world to see, I seek input from those with specific expertise. One example was adding on 500 square feet to my home, when I hired an architect to design the space and a general contractor to complete the building. I decided that since I was pouring significant effort into my manuscript, it was time to engage a professional editor to coach me through to completion. After all, I valued the countless hours I had invested and believed I was worthy of having a specialist recommend changes that would improve my written story.

I read some articles on She Writes and discovered Brooke Warner's coaching services, including editing. I contacted Brooke and was impressed with her response. She was most interested in starting small to see if we would be a good fit to work together. I was pleasantly surprised by her authentic intent of trying out working together before committing that she was the best resource for all of my needs. Being that editing is a human process with emotions and finding the right fit and style mattered when it came to editing, I was so appreciative of her recommendation. Following a developmental edit, Brooke recommended a coaching relationship with Annie Tucker, one of her editors. I had hired coaches in several other settings and was game to try the process. Annie and I discussed the process and agreed to move forward. She focused on two chapers at a time, then talked with me for 30 minutes, every other week, to discuss her feedback. I would then make changes and we would finalize via email. As a debut author, Annie taught me exactly where I needed to develop a scene or character further, or to add dialogue to enrich a section.

The result? Working together, we completed the manuscript in five months and The Gift of Goodbye was published fourteen months later. In addition, I am humbled to say that The Gift of Goodbye has won several literary awards, including Reader Views Reviewers Choice award. Why not invest in you and your story and seek expert help? You might be surprised by the result.

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