The Importance of Editors and Beta Readers

As a reader years ago, I often thought that authors simply sat down and wrote their books from beginning to end. Sure, they did some editing, but otherwise it was a chronological process with an occasional bumpy, but mostly smooth, road. Now that I write books, I see how naïve I was.

ThreeMayKeepASecretFront My first novel, Three May Keep a Secret, comes out in November. Before I began looking for a publisher, I hired an excellent freelance editor to give the manuscript a once over. Not only was it the best… Continue reading

Publishing Choices

This weekend I attended a workshop on “Paths to Publication” that focused on Traditional, Indie, and Self Publishing. The day-long workshop, put on by New England Sisters in Crime, featured panels on each of the publishing options, hybrid authors who use more than one type of publishing, and an author-editor connection between Hank Phillippi Ryan and her editor, Francesca Coltrera. The panel authors included Sheila Connolly, Jessie Crockett, Ray Daniel, Kate George, Rosemary Harris, Marian Lanouette, Edith Maxwell, P.M. Steffen, and Kevin Symmons. Moderators were Sharon Daynard, Michele Dorsey, Julie Hennrikus, Arlene Kay, and Liz Mugavero.

The following is… Continue reading

The Dreaded Query Letter

What is it about query letters that causes heart rates to soar, pupils to widen, and usually articulate people to stutter? It isn’t as though a query letter is very long, certainly nothing like a synopsis, so it shouldn’t take much time to create. It isn’t as though the information requested is difficult to find; it’s all about your work and your life. In fact, query letters from authors are actively sought by agents and editors. What’s the big deal about writing query letters?… Continue reading

Crime Bake – Writing Conference Revitalization

Crime Bake Luau

Crime Bake Luau

Last weekend I attended my fourth Crime Bake, New England’s mystery-writing conference. Each year I wonder if the fare will be a repeat of the previous year, and each year I am pleasantly surprised. The selection of workshops at Crime Bake usually reflects the rapid changes in the writing industry, and the list of successful authors sharing their knowledge varies with each conference.

The guest of honor this year was Meg Gardiner, whose thrillers, beginning with her Edgar-winning novel, China Lake, have… Continue reading

Acquiring editors’ pet peeves

Are you unwittingly turning off an acquiring editor by committing one of her pet peeves?

Two acquiring editors spoke recently about what works – and what doesn’t – at a panel at the Left Coast Crime convention in Colorado Springs.

Denise “Deni” Dietz, a senior editor for Five Star publications, says any manuscript sent to her should follow the submission guidelines, and authors should be professional in their dealings with her.  She isn’t looking for perfection in a manuscript, but she is looking for someone with a “good voice” and for solid “characterization, plot, and pacing.”… Continue reading