Today, I have a five question interview that I did with +Laurie Laliberte. She's a member of our writing circle and she is also an editor. She works with indie authors. I asked her five questions regarding the work she does. If you have questions you'd like to ask her, feel free to chime in in the comments section. I'm sure she'll pop-up to answer them.

1. Can you tell us about Kindle All Stars and your role there?

The Kindle All-Stars began as an experiment just under a year ago. Author Bernard Schaffer decided he wanted to assemble an anthology of spec fic short stories, so he sent out a tweet. Within hours he had several responses (including mine) asking for more information. He realized the following day that it would be quite impractical to try and divide the royalties, so he decided to donate any proceeds to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Originally it was supposed to be a one-off, but things evolved as we got further into the project.

(Just a side note: The "featured" authors in the antho were the legendary Harlan Ellison and Alan Dean Foster.)

Within about two weeks, my story was fully edited by Schaffer and officially a part of the book. I quickly became very involved in the project as Bernard's right arm. I ended up, with a partner, handling the coordination of new members and publicity and eventually acting as co-editor and proofreader. Although each author was held responsible for proofreading his or her own story, I was the person who did the final proof of the entire book, all 404 pages of it. Resistance Front was released in December of 2011.

Now, as we approach the anniversary of the creation  of the KAS, Bernard and I are actively seeking submissions for our second anthology. This time the theme is more specific: Cryptozoology. Submissions will be accepted throughout the month of October. We have not yet settled on a specific organization, but proceeds for this one will definitely be earmarked for a children's charity, just as the original was.

During the time that it took us to put it all together, Bernard and his own editor parted ways and I began editing his work. Also during that time, we discussed what we could do with the organization and how far we could possibly take it in the future. Somewhere in there we decided I would stay on in a different capacity: the Head of Editing Services.

Since January, I have been my only staff, but we've recently taken on a couple of associate editors because I'm reaching the point where I can't handle it all on my own. We offer a three-part service: a story edit, line edit, and proofread. We also keep our rates as low as possible while still paying our editors a reasonable rate. As this service progresses and continues to grow, my role continues to change. 

2. In your role as an editor, do you find that there is a common logistical or planning mistake made by people who are working with an editor for the first time?

I think the biggest mistake writers make is sending me a first draft. That can be a costly mistake. It means you're going to spend a lot more for your editing. Some writers assume that the editor is there to ghost write. That's not what I do. I can, but it will cost you.

The other major mistake I see is someone sending me what amounts to a query. A writer who is a bit less confident may send me his first couple of chapters, give me a word count and ask for an estimate. After I've told him I'll accept the project I find out that the book isn't done, that I've just read all he's written. That can almost ensure that he'll never finish the project. That's the reason I refuse to accept queries anymore.

The best approach an independent, or self-published, author can take is to write a first draft, let it sit for a couple of weeks or so, then hit it with a second pass to properly revise it. Then, when he (I'm sorry ladies, I tend to use he because the bulk of my clientele is male) is certain he's put together his best possible work, he should send it to an editor.

3. What genres do you edit?

If you saw my resume you'd still ask me that. I specialize in working with writers who work with small press publishers or who publish independently. The most exciting thing about that is that the writers aren't limited in genre, therefore I'm not. I've run the gamut from Scifi to police procedurals to pulp/noir to romance/erotica. I've also done a handful of blog posts and online magazine articles.

The most specific answer I can give is that I work in indie fiction.

4. Can you share any stories to illustrate the difference a developmental editor can make? Be as specific or as general as you need to be.

Without calling out a specific author or book: I received a manuscript that was extremely personal and extremely moving. The writer was so close to the subject matter that he really couldn't see how he could further the story and make it more saleable while still remaining true to the events. I was able to step back from it and say, "okay, here, I want to know more about x, y, and z." And I did that throughout the book, "Give me more detail. What does this smell, taste, feel, sound like?" This guy's doing this, but why?

Even though getting that story out was very difficult, we did it. It was a painful process, for both of us, but we got it done and I don't mind saying that it's one brilliant piece of writing.

5. Are you accepting new clients? If so, what is the first step someone should take in procuring your services?

Yes, absolutely. I am always willing to consider a new client. Unfortunately for them, however, I'm getting busy enough that turnaround time on projects has become a couple of weeks rather than a couple of days and I've had to become a bit more picky about who/what I take on. The flip side is that because I have associates to work with, we're still available as a team and they are supervised to an extent. After all, they must have freedom to spread their wings.

My best advice, if you'd like to work with me personally, is do your homework. I am not a sunshine and roses editor. I'm extremely demanding. People hire me because I'm tough, not because I'm a cheerleader. I have been called an "edinatrix" and "the Simon Cowell of editing." I don't want to scare anyone away, but I don't want to offer any illusions either. My name is on that book too, so I have an interest in making it the best it can be.

The Kindle All-Stars website has a page devoted to the editing service. Toward the end of that short article, you'll find links that will direct you to two essays I wrote recently about my editing process. They will give you a pretty good perspective as to how I approach a manuscript and a writer.
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