The secret joy of reading manuscripts before publication

I’m really too old to be still awake at 4am.  Tomorrow will be awkward; I know that for sure.  There’s a long day of work ahead that will demand proper attention…
But I am reading.

This is the fourth time I’ve had the pleasure of reading this author’s work.

About a year ago, we were both participating in a Facebook group conversation about editors.  It came to pass that I offered, for myriad reasons, to edit one of his novels for free.  The most overt reasons were that he hadn’t yet found an editor for it, and I hadn’t yet found a book to edit.  I wanted to try.

So I threw myself into the ring and offered.  No harm could come from it because if he didn’t like my suggestions, he could ignore them; and if it turned out that I didn’t like the editing process, I wouldn’t have to do it again.  For some reason, he trusted this stranger on the opposite side of the planet, with little experience other than too many incomplete drafts of my own, a reading habit, a research degree, a decade of marking university assignments, and an audit-style approach to the task.

I wasn’t sure they were appropriately transferable skills, but it seems to have worked out just fine.  I’ve worked with a couple of other writers since that first day, and I like the work a lot.  What I like even more is the camaraderie that has developed in each situation.  Maybe I’m just on a lucky streak, and have picked the right writers.  Maybe I’m better at it than writing my own stuff.  Or maybe it’s complementary work that will make me a better writer:  I think so, but time will tell.

What I do know for sure is this particular gig could not be easier.  I take zero credit for any role in this author’s success because the books are so well written that there really isn’t much for me to do.  So I check a fact here and there, and concentrate on ferreting out some stray symbol or such that might not quite match the publisher’s style.

Since that day last year, the author and I have stayed in touch, become Facebook friends, and settled into a pretty neat working pattern.  The bigger news is that he has secured a publishing deal, and the book is now a series!  A very engaging one at that.  I have read them all, and were I not in the privileged position of advance reading for free, I would happily buy the whole series.  You know that’s true because I have not mentioned the name of the author or his works.  There’s no name dropping or selling happening here.

I can say that the books are beautiful; and I will fly out the gate to promote them as soon as they are released.

But for now, birds have started whistling outside my window, and I’m keen to stop writing this so that I can read some more before the day begins…

Kerri sign-off


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