First, some background on Emily. She's a single title editor with HQN, which means she only takes manuscripts of about 100,000 words. They accept all subgenres of romance, as well as fantasy and chick-lit (though these last two are not as prominent).
The Editorial Process
- First Read / Editor Revisions: This is where the editor focuses on the major or broad aspects of the story.
- Author Revision
- Editor’s Line Edits: After the initial revision, the editor then goes back with her red pen and comments on everything.
- Author Reviews Line Edits & Makes Changes. This process can go back and forth between editor and author a few times before it’s completed.
- Once the editor and author agree on all of the changes, the manuscript is sent to the Copy Editor, who looks at the extremely technical and nitpicky side of the story.
- The copy editor then sends the story back to the writer, who makes the changes. Again, this can go back and forth a few times before it’s completed.
- Finally, a PDF version of the story is sent to the author. This is the author’s last chance to make any changes to the story.
- Once the author approves, the story is sent to production!!
- A well thought-out concept: Is your concept new? Is it fresh? An editor has to be concerned with whether or not the book will sell. If your idea isn’t different enough—or is too different—from what’s out there, they won’t be able to sell it. It’s a fine line writers tread.
- Tight plot: Although every story will need some tweaking, the basic plot should be quite concrete before an editor ever sees it. An editor is buying the idea to the story—everything else can be revised.
- Clean writing/polished manuscript: Although Emily said she will overlook some errors (we’re all human, after all), it worries her if a manuscript is riddled with mistakes. It makes her wonder whether you’ve bothered with the editing process, and since she has to work with you, this could mean a lot of extra work for her.
- Quality of writing: Once again, it all comes down to writing/voice. If an editor loves your voice, they are more willing to overlook other issues.