Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#1
Hello, everyone. I've been lurking for a couple of months, poking around and learning all your secrets. :) I finally started posting in the forum, which means I really should do an intro post. 

I'm a professional freelance editor, mostly SF&F. I started eleven years ago as a temporary gig and basically never left. I also teach an extracurricular creative writing workshop at a private college (which means I'm a guest lecturer, not a professor, so don't get the wrong impression). I am, at this point, not looking for editing gigs, so I'm not trying to sell anything. I do love teaching, though, so I might wander around giving advice as life allows. 

I only recently took an interest in webnovel publishing. I stumbled across some stories recently while doing a general search for something else and realized I'd been ignoring something very large. Ten years ago, I ignored self-publishing as a hack business, fit only for those who couldn't write a real story; now it's the heart and soul of not only SF&F as a genre, but also I've only worked with self-pub authors for the past several years. Publishing has changed drastically in just a decade, and the more I look at webnovels the more I'm having flashbacks to ten years ago. I'm not saying that this form of publishing is going to be the next big thing, but you have all proven that it's viable not only as a business, but as a medium for improving your art. From a professional standpoint, I am impressed

In particular, I've come to like Royal Road. (And not just because the address of my childhood home was literally Royal Rd., but that's still going to amuse me for the rest of the year at least.) Your community here is full of people who are genuinely interested in helping each other without simply descending into polite banalities that won't help a writer grow. I've seen many members here giving very good advice, sometimes as good as (occasionally better than) what I see among the professional circles I run in. You pay attention, you learn, and you help others. That's a breath of fresh air among the bitterness of so many other writer forums I've seen. 

I can't promise I'll be able to help everyone, but I'm genuinely looking forward to exploring around and seeing what you have to offer. I may write a guide or two as well, if time permits. 

If you think I might like to look at your story, please feel free to link it below. I enjoy characters that make me care what happens to them; I like interesting worldbuilding, and I'm a physics and history buff, so if you had to extensively research in order to get your story just right, I will take a look. Step right up and try me. I'm interested to see what you have to offer. 

(2021/01/27) EDIT: Due to the volume of response, and the fun I've had giving you all advice, I've spun off a dedicated Ask the Editor thread in a more appropriate subforum. This will no doubt make the mods and admins happier. :) 

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#2
If you'd be willing to give my story a look-at, I'm nearing the conclusion of Bloodshard. It's a kind of genre mashup, semi- murder mystery set in an original fantasy world. I certainly have not researched physics or history much, so if anything feel off to you in those regards I'd be glad to accept correction. Fair warning, though; it did begin its life as a nanowrimo project, so it may not be up to the level of polish you'd prefer.

I'm also not sure I would yet qualify as a 'good' writer. Perhaps 'slightly above average' would be a more correct description. But I do welcome feedback and critique. My goal is to improve as a writer, so no need to hold back. :) I've been at this long enough, I'm confident I can handle it.


Out of curiosity, what are your rates for actual editing? Have you a website and portfolio I could peruse? I'm considering looking into producing Bloodshard as a kindle book, but I know it needs a serious substance revision before that point, and I haven't seen many editors who actually specialize in sf/f.

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#5
Hello and welcome!
My story is called A World of Monsters. It is my first work which I am currently publishing online. It is the story of a sorceress reborn a caterpillar; she must now die to live.
This is my first story, so nowhere near your standards but I am fairly confident in my character development and world-building. Not so much in physics though; it never was my strong suit. If this intrigues you, please give it a read and don't hold back if [or when] you comment.

Have a nice time here on RR!

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#7

Asviloka Wrote: If you'd be willing to give my story a look-at, I'm nearing the conclusion of Bloodshard. [snip] Fair warning, though; it did begin its life as a nanowrimo project, so it may not be up to the level of polish you'd prefer.


I have a longstanding bias against NaNoWriMo, for multiple reasons including timing of the year (November is probably the second-worst month to set it in) and how it encourages wordcount over entertainment.

That said, your synopsis is intriguing, and your first chapter is interesting enough to make me read further. I like the worldbuilding hints so far, though the beginning quote is unnecessary and the initial lines are a trifle weak. I'll leave a review after I've read enough to get a feel for the story.

Quote:Out of curiosity, what are your rates for actual editing? Have you a website and portfolio I could peruse? I'm considering looking into producing Bloodshard as a kindle book, but I know it needs a serious substance revision before that point, and I haven't seen many editors who actually specialize in sf/f.


Usually between $800 and $1,200 for a typical manuscript, but I always give a free evaluation beforehand and usually offer a significant discount in exchange for the right to use the manuscript, edits, comments, and correspondence for teaching students and interns. Most people take that offer.

I don't have a "portfolio," per se; I have a very strong philosophy of stepping out of the limelight and don't like making lists of the books I've edited. I believe an editor's influence should be invisible, as the job is about making the author, not myself, look good. People have asked me to autograph books I've edited and I've always refused by saying that I'll only ever sign a book if my name is on the cover. (This led to an amusing moment when someone who knew this rule ambushed me at a wedding reception with a multi-author book I'd edited, from a publisher who put my name on the cover without telling me. Well played, well played.)

I do have a website, though I'm not going to link to it at the moment. As I said, I'm not looking to sell anything right now, and I'd hate to be rude and look like I am right when I'm starting to post on this lovely forum. I promise that when I do open for submissions, I'll make a post about it in the appropriate sub-forum.

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#8

Ellen Wrote: Okay, the fact that you are a fellow history buff made me super curious to know what you'd think of my story, Musical Land. It's a story set in an alternate universe where famous historical figures are all living in the same time period, and musicals are their every day lives. The link is in my signature, if you want to check it out.



Intriguing. The first chapter is well-written. The premise is one I might have overlooked, but I'll definitely read more and leave a review after I've gotten a feel for the story. 
FAHyatt Wrote: Nothing but respect for dedicated readers, especially those with aid to offer.  I would hope the site continues to attract people looking to read the best efforts of engaged authors. Perhaps more than its attraction to complete newbie writers, though that could be a toss up with me, as I would hope to encourage both.


I appreciate it. I'm enjoying the change of pace, and I've mentioned my observations in a social media group for authors that I run. I'm not just poking around for my own curiosity, though that's the largest part of it; I'm actively looking around with an eye to observing changes in publishing as a whole. The publishing industry has had three major changes in my adult lifetime, and this site and similar outlets collectively represent, at minimum, a minor but still significant change. I'm very interested to see how things end up. 

Incidentally, is "F. A. Hyatt" your actual name, or is this a subtle reference to the economist F. A. Hayek? 
Ankur_93 Wrote: Hello and welcome!
My story is called A World of Monsters. It is my first work which I am currently publishing online. It is the story of a sorceress reborn a caterpillar; she must not die to live.
This is my first story, so nowhere near your standards but I am fairly confident in my character development and world-building. Not so much in physics though; it never was my strong suit. If this intrigues you, please give it a read and don't hold back if or when] you comment.

Have a nice time here on RR!

Curious. I read your prologue and first chapter; definitely not the sort of story I would normally look at, but I'll read on to get a feel for the story and leave a review. I have trouble getting into litRPGs as well; they usually have to have something compelling about them for it to work for me. Despite that, I do find the genre interesting and would like to find good options if I can. I have some ideas about the genre I'd like to nail down. 

Incidentally, why is your tag line "she must not die to live"? After all, living normally entails not dying. 
gwunders Wrote: Hey! Welcome to the site! That's a hell of a thing you're offering, giving people potential advice and looking at their stuff. I hope you enjoy your time here. I've only been around for a few weeks I've already found a plethora of good stories to check out.

Anywho, good luck, etc, and whatnot.

Thank you. And mostly I'm just going to go around commenting and giving advice as I enjoy it. The moment it starts feeling like work, I'll stop. So I won't always detail what comes to mind just because it'll take too much time away from things like playing with my toddler. 

But part of what keeps it from feeling like work is the very nice community you've all built here. The people running this site have built a thing of beauty, and the members make it work beyond all my expectations. Things have been very bitter in the wider publishing industry (due to a bunch of factors I won't get into but amount to lots of yelling over what books to focus on) for so long that this site, and especially the forum, have been a truly welcome change. I think I'm going to enjoy the forums here. 

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#9
This is indeed a most generous offer. Thank you very much, from all of us at Royal Road.

I have on this website a Soft Science Fiction, Low Fantasy story called DOTS that I have been working on since Moses thought his toeses were roses. I am posting just one chapter a week because I'm editing what I lovingly call my Monkey Bangings, since my first drafts resemble something a lucky monkey might bang out if given a typewriter. But!  I have finally learned how to write...

... and so then, here is my story.

Death crawls after Rio, trawling Pacific waters, searching for her beacon. She responds the way she always does.
https%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2F8BryxZa.jpg
Run. Hide. Get away.
But she fears starting her life anew on another far-flung shore.
Christ. Isn't this ocean big enough?

Using her mind, she visits a city that beckons with the safety of a thousand searchlights. Maybe hundreds of thousands.
How can one person be so mighty?

It must be a trick. A scheme cooked up by Death to get her to run further. Still, if true, Death could never blacken so much pure white light. She packs the few things she still owns, having run so many times that her entire life now fits in a single suitcase.
She calls a nearby airport. "Konnichiwa? When is there a flight to the United States?"
"Anywhere. Non-stop."
DOTS - The Age of Enlightenment Has Begun

And again. Thank you! 😃

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#11
Hi NovelNinja,

I wouldn’t mind taking you up on this! I’m at that awkward point where I’m considering looking at literary agents, but I’ve never done this before and could really use some professional advice.

I edit my story quite a bit already but it would be brilliant to have an expert take a look. 

My story is called Doing God’s Work, and is a corporate fantasy about divine mismanagement. I recently completed the first volume and am not 100% sure what to do with it next.

Also, do you take read recommendations for other stories around the site? There are some amazing stories on Royal Road I can point you in the direction of, and you’re right about the site and community being fantastic. 

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#13

NovelNinja Wrote: If you think I might like to look at your story, please feel free to link it below. I enjoy characters that make me care what happens to them; I like interesting worldbuilding, and I'm a physics and history buff, so if you had to extensively research in order to get your story just right, I will take a look. Step right up and try me. I'm interested to see what you have to offer.

Welcome.


May I point you to something not my own? Not for anyone's edification, but because you--a physics and history buff--would likely enjoy a HFY about the anthropology of alien entanglement.

https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/37072/human-weaponry

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#16

Suzumiya Wrote: May I point you to something not my own? Not for anyone's edification, but because you--a physics and history buff--would likely enjoy a HFY about the anthropology of alien entanglement.

Very amusing! I do enjoy a good HFY story. I liked the Jenkinsverse for a while until it started to bog down. Most of what I've seen since then has been very short, but as I said, I haven't been hanging out in webnovel territory. I liked the first chapter and will have to read more later. Thank you very much for the suggestion, and for promoting someone else's story. 

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#17

Csuite Wrote: Hi NovelNinja,

I wouldn’t mind taking you up on this! I’m at that awkward point where I’m considering looking at literary agents, but I’ve never done this before and could really use some professional advice.

I edit my story quite a bit already but it would be brilliant to have an expert take a look. 

My story is called Doing God’s Work, and is a corporate fantasy about divine mismanagement. I recently completed the first volume and am not 100% sure what to do with it next.

Also, do you take read recommendations for other stories around the site? There are some amazing stories on Royal Road I can point you in the direction of, and you’re right about the site and community being fantastic.

Sorry, I missed your previous comment. I'll take a look at your story, but I should really get some sleep right now so I'll leave it for tomorrow. 

I do indeed take recommendations, and it's always good to see authors recommending another author. 

As for agents, I would recommend against that route, mostly because it's a waste of your time. Right now it is very hard to break into big-press SF&F, and with all my contacts I was unable to get anyone to take a glance at my own wife's book. Agents also take a percentage in perpetuity, but very few of them will even touch SF&F because it won't make them money. I tell every single one of my students looking at writing SF&F (which is never less than half of the class) to just expect to self-publish. The SF&F self-pub market is pretty lively, though getting noticed by paying customers is a very different beast than it is on Royal Road. 

I mentioned in a comment above that publishing has had three big changes in my adult lifetime. They were: Internet sales of print books (boosting small presses); ebook sales (convenience, as well as reducing overhead for all publishers); and self-publication (removing the middleman). All three, but especially the last, have weakened the hold that agents have had over the field, and this is a good thing. They used to be helpful, but in the last twenty years have wound up being little more than gatekeepers. They no longer support an author's cause so much as promise publishers that they're keeping the riff-raff out. With the way the big-presses are mismanaging the market, this means that agents are becoming an active detriment to the field. 

Yes, I'm opinionated on the subject. :) 

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#19

NovelNinja Wrote: I also appreciate the connection with the opposing virtues, as you call them; I'll put this on my list to read later as well.

Oh my!  That was fast! I very much appreciate it. And the Prologue is meant to be confusing, because the world of DOTS is not like the one we live in, as the Bus Scene shows. But it is a slow build up over seven Light Novels until The End comes in The Book of DILIGENCE, where Everybody Dies.

Sort of. 

And yes -- I really should redo the Synopsis. It actually, of course, is a Blurb, as a Synopsis tells the whole story, including all main characters, all twists and the climax. I first wrote one of those for Royal Road, to get the story approved, until I saw that they posted it. So I quickly whipped up a Blurb, because the Synopsis had told the whole story. 

And again -- Thank you!  🙂

Re: Professional Editor Interested in Reading Good Stories

#20

NovelNinja Wrote: I mentioned in a comment above that publishing has had three big changes in my adult lifetime. They were: Internet sales of print books (boosting small presses); ebook sales (convenience, as well as reducing overhead for all publishers); and self-publication (removing the middleman). All three, but especially the last, have weakened the hold that agents have had over the field, and this is a good thing. They used to be helpful, but in the last twenty years have wound up being little more than gatekeepers. They no longer support an author's cause so much as promise publishers that they're keeping the riff-raff out. With the way the big-presses are mismanaging the market, this means that agents are becoming an active detriment to the field.

You know -- I feel the same way. Every agent wants a Fifty Shades Romance story with a beefcake on the cover. Or a hard-boiled Jack Ryan mystery, where super sleuths and bad guys duke it out. 


Ugh. I miss the days of Amazing Stories.