I thought it would make a change to interview an editor. It's something I've never done before. Thankfully, Jodi, the lead editor with the new company TJS Literary Editing, took some time out to answer some questions for us. You will find the links to her page at the bottom of the interview, or simply click the image below.
Tell us more about TJS Literary Editing.
Well, this was something I had thought about doing for long time, but it took the encouragement of a dear friend to bring it to fruition. After a debilitating medical condition made it impossible for me to work outside the home, I realized it was time to pursue the dream I’d had for many years; to become a freelance book editor. I never wanted to work for a large publishing house, because I wanted the freedom to select from various genres, and not get locked into working on just one type of story. My personal reading tastes vary from Romance to Paranormal, from Suspense to Comedy, even Erotica and Science Fiction. I wanted the opportunity to work with a wide variety of talented authors, so TJS Literary Editing was born!
I was always a voracious reader, choosing from a variety of genres. While working the midnight shift as a Corrections Officer (Jail Guard) for the Sheriff’s Department, I would finish the average novel in a day or two, even while marking up all the errors I’d spot while I read. I've always had an almost obsessive need to edit everything I read. While at University, one of my professors had written the text we were using. It hadn’t been published yet, and was still held together by a black comb binding. Before the end of the course, I handed the instructor the textbook. I explained my compulsive need to correct all the errors I found. I just couldn’t let it go. His response? Well, he tried to fail me. I was shocked (and more than just a little pissed off.) I actually had to go to the head of the department to plead my case. I was relieved to be proven correct and my grade was changed back to an A-.
Eventually, my compulsion paid off, and I found I was being asked to edit, rather than just doing it on my own! I have a friend who was a Literary Agent, and I would do a LOT of editing for her, both with her established authors, as well as the dozens of manuscripts she would receive weekly.
While I attended college as a Communications major (Broadcast media,) I was employed as a Secretary in the University Registrar’s office. In addition to the standard secretarial duties, I was also responsible for editing the course catalogue before every semester. I loved my job at that time, but I knew then that my editing career would not be focused on technical work. I loved stories, and realized that was where my editing strengths were.
What is the best thing about being an editor?
I would have to say it’s cultivating a relationship with each author I work with. I try to connect on a personal level, because it makes it easier to maintain the perspective of the author when I make my edits/suggestions.
And another thing… a real perk for me is, I get to read a LOT of incredible books!
How would you handle sensitive writers who question every edit you make?
I can’t really imagine anyone in this industry being so sensitive that they would question everything. After all, if an author can’t accept constructive criticism or advice from the person that is essentially working for them, how will they handle the reviews by the general public? I’d like to think it’s not just luck, that all the authors I’ve worked with actually want and expect me to be totally honest with my opinions. This is a good thing, because I can’t be anything else but honest.
Lindsay - You have helped me with the adult novel I am currently writing, and I couldn't be happier. I know some do not like honest opinions, but I truly appreciate yours. I don't offend easily as you know.
If you have a 300-page document that's a rush job and you must edit it by the end of the day, how would you approach the task?
Well to be honest, I know I could not edit a 300-page document in 1 day. I don’t just skim through what I am editing. I read it thoroughly, and I re-read the same paragraph a few times to make sure it flows the way it should. I read it aloud as well, because sometimes you can hear a mistake you can’t always see. That approach probably has a lot to do with my alternate career as an Audiobook narrator. I love to act out the characters, giving them an individual protector. But if I was asked to handle a rush job, I would give that project 100 % of my attention, and assure my client that I would get it done as soon as possible.
What annoys you most about the publishing industry at the moment?
The lack of respect given to authors for their work. You have distributors who allow people to purchase an e-book, and then return that book for a refund. No questions asked. No time limit. So what is to stop people from purchasing, then reading, then returning a book? And the author is the one to get screwed over. They aren’t getting rich selling their books for .99¢ but to then have to refund that money when the purchaser has had MORE than enough time to read that book? Really upsets me. I can only imagine how much it hurts the authors. Also all those sites that post the books for free. They are stealing from the authors. I don’t know how they do it, and not feel the slightest remorse.
Do you have any pet-peeves?
Several haha… but I guess the biggest one would be going on sites like Goodreads, and seeing reviews… BAD reviews… for books that haven’t even been released yet… Really? And how did you manage to review that book without reading it first? ARGH!
What must-read book have you never read and why?
I never read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. I guess because I originally thought they were kids books. Then it was just the timing. Maybe when I'm in between projects, I’ll try
What do you think new writers should know that they don’t seem to?
Don’t rely on your spellchecker. It is helpful, but it doesn’t know if you meant to say “three” when you typed “tree.” Don’t overuse clichés and idioms. Use the “find” feature of your word processor and see how many times you have already used a particular sentence. You don’t always need the extra fluff... and remember… the Thesaurus is your FRIEND. USE IT.
Lindsay - I'm doing that at the moment! I'm becoming a word junkie lol.
Who are some of your favorite authors? Why?
I love Stephenie Myers. I had taken a long break from reading after moving to Florida and becoming a Mom. I’d almost forgotten how I enjoyed reading - life just got in the way for a while. Anyway, my cousin introduced me to the Twilight movie. I was going in for another spine surgery, and decided to read the Twilight books while I was in hospital. The reminded me just how much I loved to read. I finished reading the entire saga before being discharged after my surgery! I'm also a big fan of Janet Evanovich... I guess after all the horrors of day to day (watching the news, reading the paper) I really need a good dose of sarcastic fun with my suspense... I just like to laugh sometimes.
Well Jodi, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us.
If anyone is looking for a top quality editor, who treats you with complete respect and who is more like a friend than your editor, then please get in touch.
You can visit TJS Literary Editing on Facebook by clicking here. I do believe they will have a new website up and running in the near future.
I wish the company every success. I wish you were around when I first began writing.