Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Unsung Heroines of a Novel - Copy Editors!

Today I welcome a special guest - Margorie Vawter, and my copy editor for  Red Rock Weddings. I know as an author I'd be lost without her and other editors who work behind the scenes to bring out the best in my books. I credit Margie and others for really transforming the second book of this collection, Heart of Mine, to which I dedicated it to them. 

Here's Margie:

Eleven years ago I started proofreading for Barbour Publishing, mostly in the Heartsong Presents! line. Soon I was proofreading across all the fiction and nonfiction that Barbour publishes. I learned a lot those first few years.

Then six years ago, I “retired” from teaching and went full-time doing freelance editing and proofreading. I added another publisher and read manuscripts for an agent. And I continued to learn and grow as an editor and a writer. Through the years, the Lord has given me several individuals that I edited, many of whom have gone on to publication. SO fun to have a part in their publication journeys.

Then I started copy editing (or line editing) for Heartsong Presents. I’ve met many wonderful authors and gained some precious friendships along the way. When JoAnne Simmons assigned me to Lauralee’s Utah stories, I was thrilled. I’d proofread several of Lauralee’s earlier books, so I was familiar with her as an author.

The challenge in line editing is taking the author’s vision for the book and making sure each sentence, each word, conveys that vision to the reader. Lauralee and I made a personal connection with her first book in the series, as it was a subject very close to my heart. As a result of working on that book, I gained a friend and prayer partner as we pray for each other’s wayward children.

I see my editing work as a way I can give to the Christian writing community, and it is very much a ministry to me. And it not only has made me grow as an editor, it has also helped me grow as a writer. This year has been a challenging year in many ways, but it also has had many surprises along the way. Challenges like my hubby and primary wage earner losing his job January 4 . . . and still being unemployed nearly 10 months later.

And surprises like being given my very first book contract—a historical romance novella for Barbour Publishing. The title of the novella collection is Sundays in Fredericksburg, and it is a “generational” collection set in Fredericksburg, Texas, from the early 1890s to contemporary. My book, A Shelter in the Storm, is set at the end of World War I and includes dealing with the Spanish influenza epidemic. And the other authors in the collection are Eileen Key, Connie Stevens, and Lynette Sowell—all authors whom I have proofread and edited in my work with Barbour. And Eileen and Connie are also two of my critique partners.

God is good. And I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me in the future. I hope it will continue to include working with authors like Lauralee. 

Purchase Red Rock Weddings!

BOOK GIVEAWAY!! Leave a comment (where it says Post Comment) below for a chance to win the now out-of-print collection New England. It includes my first ever title published, Mountaintop. Please include your e-mail address. Giveaway ends Wednesday, October 26th at 10 PM est.

ONGOING UTAH PHOTO CONTEST  Each day on the blog there will be a photo from Utah featured as part of the ongoing Utah Photo Contest. Each day, take a look at the photo displayed and follow the instruction for that day. Keep track of your responses. There will be a total of five different photos, one for each day. (DO NOT POST YOUR ANSWERS HERE IN COMMENTS or on any of the blogs. If you do your answer will be deleted and your response that day will be disqualified). From Friday, October 28th - through Saturday, October 29th, e-mail your five answers to me at: blissful63(at)gmail(dot)com. From the most correct responses in the photo contest, I will select one winner of the Amazon Gift card!

PHOTO # 2 in the Utah Photo Contest - Name the national park where you can find these unique formations.
**IMPORTANT  - DO NOT post your answer here in the comments! **Keep track of your answers for each day and e-mail them to me from Friday October 28th to Saturday October 29th as stated above. There will be a total of five photos in all in the Utah Photo Contest. This is Photo #2. You can look back for other photos if you missed them.  


Roanna said...

Good blog post. I enjoyed reading it. There is a lot of work that goes into a book before people like me read it. I guess I never really thought about it.

I would like to be entered in the giveaway.

Thank you!
ohiobuckeye91 (at) gmail [dot] com

Joy said...

Wow. A lot of work goes into publishing a book! Would love to win the "New England" book!


Lauralee Bliss said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Virginia C said...

Thank you for such a lovely post, Margorie! I can tell by your comments that you are a thoughtful editor, which would make a world of difference to an author's finished work. Best wishes for your own writing career. My thoughts go out to you and your husband regarding his job loss.

I live in a small town with few job opportunities. Years ago, I worked as a call center customer service representative. This was a high-paying non-labor job for my home area, which is dominated by factories and manual labor jobs. After seven years of business, the company closed its doors. Since I have a background in advertising and sales, I decided to promote not only the empty call center building, but the town, the people, and the whole way of life here in my home area. For five years, I worked on my own as an unpaid economic development aide. I made over 1000 contacts to possible employers for the call center, legislators, print and broadcast media & etc. Emails, snail mail, phone calls, person-to-person–however I could get the word out. I gave speeches, rode on political floats in parades, and was featured in a newspaper article by our largest regional newspaper. Some people applauded me, some people snubbed me, and some people asked me to run for office! After five years, a company did come to the call center. For the grand opening ceremony, I was the one who cut the ribbon. I worked for the company for over three years until they began to downsize and eventually lost their contract with our customer. I was unemployed for eighteen months. Losing your job through no fault of your own during the middle of a global recession is not for the faint of heart. What I have been through these last two years has left some permanent scars. I just went back to work a few months ago at the same facility for a different employer.

During my time of promoting economic development, I went through an amazing learning experience, not only about the ways and whys of the world, but also about myself. At the time of my great campaign, I also went back to school. One of my biggest milestones, and greatest celebrations involved starting college at age 43. I skipped a grade in elementary school, and graduated high school with honors at age 16. Due to family responsibilities, I immediately started working. Twenty eight years later, I finally became a college student. I was so worried that I would not “make the grade” in my college studies, but I pulled it off. I graduated “Summa Cum Laude” with a 4.0 grade average. Whew! Unfortunately, my studies only slightly improved my work situation, but they greatly improved my self-esteem. It’s never too late to try to improve yourself. One should never stop learning!

Lauralee Bliss said...

Thanks so much for your thoughtful post, Virginia.