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Help! I'm unhappy with the editor's changes to my manuscript

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Hi all,

I recently signed my first picture book contract (which I talked to others about on this forum in a separate post) and now I have a problem.

I hate, hate, hate the editor's changes to my manuscript. Like, with a fiery passion  :flame

Disclaimer: I am absolutely not a cocky author (I promise). I'm VERY open to feedback, and I love putting my work in front of others with the hope that they'll identify things that need improvement. I do this with all of my work, from novels to short stories to picture books, and it's one of my favorite parts of the process. I especially did that with this manuscript. It's been seen by dozens and dozens of people who offered brilliant changes that I made accordingly. It's been through five drafts over the span of two years. I even worked with an elementary school librarian who helped me a ton with getting the cadence just right since she reads out loud to children every day. I'm not saying it can't still use any improvement, I'm just saying that it's been in front of a lot of eyes and I'm not an author who's unwilling to take suggestions.

All that being said, the changes from the editor are awful in my opinion. They make the cadence -- that I worked so hard to perfect -- worse. I slaved over every word choice and many of the words they chose to replace them with just make no sense. The stanzas are organized in a way that completely breaks up the rhyme scheme. I can't understand how any one single change they've made makes the manuscript better instead of worse.  I'm floored.

I was concerned about signing with this publisher to begin with because of the quality of some of their other works (the topic of my other post) and now I just feel like a huge idiot. I feel like I jumped the gun because I wanted to finally be published so badly and because I thought it would be a good opportunity/experience. Now I'm locked in and I hate what I'm seeing.

Does anyone have any advice (other than next time don't be a dummy jump the gun, which I probably should've listened to in the first place)? Am I allowed to tell the editor I'm not happy with the changes? Technically they are sending the changes to me for "approval" but I'm unclear on how much ability I have to veto things or if I'm allowed to just plain say "I don't like this."

 :help2

Thanks.
#1 - June 29, 2021, 01:06 PM

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I have absolutely no advice because I have no experience.  But, you need a hug! So here you go: :hug
Best of luck and I hope you get some answers that help you!
#2 - June 29, 2021, 03:45 PM

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No, you don't have to accept the changes the editor made. It is your name on the cover. I would have a conversation - ask the editor why they made the suggested changes, what did they feel they were accomplishing with the changes? Then offer to try to address those issues with your own words.

I'm actually surprised they are changing your text. With every editor I've worked with, I get messages posed as questions, such as: This isn't flowing well for me, what do you think? Do you think we could do XYZ? OR - This isn't clear, can you reword? Much more of a team approach where I come back with "Is this working better for you?" -until we both feel comfortable with the text.

If they insist on keeping their words, I'm assuming you can say you're not comfortable with the changes and break the contract. If they paid an advance you'd probably have to give it back. I'm no lawyer, but that would seem likely.

So sorry you're going through this. I hope others with similar experiences or more knowledge chime in.
#3 - June 29, 2021, 04:15 PM
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I'm so sorry. This must be such a disappointment after the excitement of signing.

Does the contract address edits and who has the final say on changes? Regardless, you'll need to let the editor know that you're unhappy with the suggested changes.

If you have an agent, I recommend discussing these concerns with your agent first and then letting her contact the editor.

If you don't have an agent, you need to contact the editor yourself. If it were me, I would explain that I was worried the suggestions disrupted the cadence and ask what the editor sees as the underlying problem -- that is, why did she make these suggestions? What problem is she trying to fix? Once you know what she wants and she knows what you want, you might be able to reach an agreement that makes both of you happy.

Remember, this is YOUR picture book and your name will be on the cover. You should be happy with the way it turns out.

Good luck!
#4 - June 29, 2021, 04:30 PM
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I have had this in the past too, and understand how devastating it feels. I'm so sorry you are going through it now. The advice already given is great. Check your contract, politely stand your ground and ask for their reasoning to see if you can reach a compromise. Worst case scenario is that this book becomes a "learning from experience" experience, but I hope it doesn't come to that.  Hugs.
#5 - June 29, 2021, 05:53 PM
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I'm so sorry you're going through this! Hopefully the editor's changes are suggestions, not demands.
I agree with Debra and Laurel's  thoughts:
No, you don't have to accept the changes the editor made. It is your name on the cover. I would have a conversation - ask the editor why they made the suggested changes, what did they feel they were accomplishing with the changes? Then offer to try to address those issues with your own words.
If you don't have an agent, you need to contact the editor yourself. If it were me, I would explain that I was worried the suggestions disrupted the cadence and ask what the editor sees as the underlying problem -- that is, why did she make these suggestions? What problem is she trying to fix? Once you know what she wants and she knows what you want, you might be able to reach an agreement that makes both of you happy.
My own experience was similar to Debra's, where my editor posed questions and offered thoughts on how something might flow better. Her input was valuable and helpful.  I felt we were allies, trying to push the book to its maximum potential, but with my opinion the deciding voice.

My suggestion would be to email and ask for a phone call to discuss the changes. You could mention one of your main concerns is the cadence changing from the original, and then provide an explanation of Why you originally set up the stanzas the way you arranged them, and your thoughts on how well that worked (without completely blasting the editor's revision but instead focusing on how the original had specific characteristics that made it shine). The editor may respond to those concerns and say these are suggested changes, not demands, which I suspect/hope is the case. Then together you can continue the discussion in a respectful and collaborative way, with your vision of the story always in mind. After all, the publisher loved your book as written, or they would not have offered you a contract.  Of course some editing is expected, but not a complete overhaul without having planned to collaborate on that in advance.

Best wishes!!
 :star2
#6 - June 29, 2021, 05:59 PM
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You have great advice already. I have one addition. Wait a couple of days and revisit. First, a cooling off period may help you approach the editor more professionally. And second, some distance might help you see what underlying piece is in question. Often the editor is trying to fix a problem they aren't sure about how to explain or trying out a solution just to give the author a sense of what they mean.

Also, make a dummy of the book your way and their way when you come back to it. It could be they are separating parts of the rhyme scheme for the page turn. It's quite common not to have a full verse in a spread. Even if that's not the case, it may help you see what they see.

Meanwhile, hugs and chocolate and wine are in order if you can have the latter two.
#7 - June 29, 2021, 06:10 PM
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I'm sorry about this, Rachel. Editors don't normally change the actual words (although they might give a something-more like "xx" suggestion). And ultimately it's your name on the cover; it's your book.

This sounds like it might be a small and not great press, though, so do read your contract.

A phone call might help, too. You could read the text to each other so you can hear how it sounds to the other person--that might shed some light on the meter issues. (I discovered once that a regional variation had thrown off my meter; coastal folks were reading three syllables into a word that has two syllables in the Midwest.)

And if none of that helps, STET is your friend. STET is what you put in the margin notes beside a suggested change, and means "leave it the heck alone."  :frypan

 :goodluck
#8 - June 29, 2021, 06:16 PM
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Oh wow, thank you all soooo much for being so kind, supportive, wise, insightful and amazing!  :hug I am so grateful to be a part of this community and I really appreciate all of you taking the time to reply. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 :love5

This is my first time officially working with an editor, but I've had other, unofficial experiences similar to what some of you mentioned about editor-author relationships that feel much more like an alliance, such as with beta-readers and my instructor from the Institute of Children's Literature. This, unfortunately, does not feel like that so far, although I don't know how she'll be when I reply. Hopefully more flexible than I'm imagining...?

As Debbie mentioned, the editor did say that the shifting of stanzas was for page-related reasons since they want to be able to fit the book into 30 pages without having to cut any content. But still, I find the way she did it rather odd. The manuscript is essentially a poem with two-line rhyming stanzas, but for page real-estate reasons she turned each text block into a three-line stanza instead. That means that every block of text ends with the first line of the next stanza, which just feels super weird/bad since they're not related and don't rhyme. Am I nuts to think this is bad formatting? I just don't understand how that makes any sense readability-wise.

As far as the actual word changes go, she said:

"I didn't mark where I've removed things (they've mostly been 'and' or 'the' sort of words) but anytime I added words or made a 'serious' change I've turned the text red so it'll stand out. They're small readability tweaks, so the cadence flows a little better when read out loud."

Okay, first of all, the "mostly 'and' or 'the' sort of words" really bothers me because in a rhyming text, every little word can be so crucial to the cadence! It felt like she just hacked away those little words all over the place as though they weren't needed, when to me they were very intentionally placed to help with cadence and flow (another thing I went over extensively with the children's librarian). I can understand curbing weedy words in a novel, but in a 750-word rhyming manuscript, every change that involves a word removal is a serious change in my opinion!

And second of all, I completely disagree that her changes help readability or made the cadence flow better. To me, it feels very clunky in the parts she modified. That clunkiness was what I spent two years trying to get rid of. I've read it hundreds of times out loud and had others do the same to identify sticking points in the flow. To me, the word changes she made feel very random/arbitrary and in many places they make the rhyme scheme uneven. Oof. Can I just mark the whole manuscript STET? :lol4

Gahh. Okay. Deep breath.

As Debbie said, probably a good idea to take some time away before responding since I'm pretty fired up about it at the moment, if you couldn't tell  :flame The chocolate, wine and hugs are also great ideas. Haha. Otherwise I might end up accidentally being unprofessional, which I absolutely don't want to do. I don't have an agent, so I'll be communicating with her directly.

Thank you all sooo much again. Reading your insights and suggestions is so helpful!

 :yourock
#9 - June 29, 2021, 07:11 PM
« Last Edit: June 29, 2021, 07:14 PM by rachel-berkowitz »

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Rachel, I'm so sorry this is happening to you. You've rec'd good advice. You do not have to accept changes that you are not comfortable with. Definitely call or write to talk about this. Even if your contract says the editor has final say, you can discuss these matters.

Once, an editor changed the entire book I wrote because it was going to belong to different set of books and the focus had changed. But my name was on the cover! I let her know that she should've called me to rewrite it and I would've done it (and done a better job of it as well). In any case, I had them take my name off the book because it wasn't mine. Needless to say, I've not worked with this publisher again.

Another time, an editor wanted me to fictionalize a story. I made a case for the truth being more powerful and she agreed. This same editor called me on my bias regarding an article, so I asked if I could have a sidebar on ethics, which she allowed. It made the piece stronger.

Editors are your allies and together you can make a beautiful book. If the two of you don't have the same vision, try to come to some understanding. The book is yours, with your name as its author. You need to be happy with it. I hope it goes well, Rachel. Good luck!
#10 - June 29, 2021, 07:14 PM
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I'm so sorry.  This is a terrible predicament to be in.  One thing to think about is how many other publishers or agents you had shopped your manuscript to and for how long you had been trying to get your work published.  If you had been trying for eons without any bites, then maybe the real question you now face:  Would I rather have my work published the way this editor insists on doing it or not at all?  Maybe this is why self-publishing can be so appealing (not that I have experience with that).
#11 - June 30, 2021, 04:58 AM

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Rachel, as a rhymer, I agree completely that the "ands" and "the" are sometimes important for the needed unstressed beat. However, I have to admit, again as a fellow rhymer, that a 750 word rhyming book does seem longer than the norm. I think long rhyming works can get a bit tiresome and "sing-songy" so is it possible that your editor is trying to remedy that?  The way she grouped it to fit a page count is also a signal that it might be too long. Is it necessary to have that many stanzas? Is it possible to reduce the word count and still have a complete story and possibly satisfy both you and your editor?

Just food for thought. Obviously, I have not read your story, so I could be completely off base, but from someone who has critiqued a lot of rhyming stories, and read a lot of published rhyming books, your word count gave me pause.

And I completely agree with Debbie. Wait a few days before having the conversation. A little bit of space is rarely a bad thing. :-)

Wishing the best for you and your book. Let us know how it goes!
#12 - June 30, 2021, 05:47 AM
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Rachel, as a rhymer, I agree completely that the "ands" and "the" are sometimes important for the needed unstressed beat. However, I have to admit, again as a fellow rhymer, that a 750 word rhyming book does seem longer than the norm. I think long rhyming works can get a bit tiresome and "sing-songy" so is it possible that your editor is trying to remedy that?  The way she grouped it to fit a page count is also a signal that it might be too long. Is it necessary to have that many stanzas? Is it possible to reduce the word count and still have a complete story and possibly satisfy both you and your editor?

Just food for thought. Obviously, I have not read your story, so I could be completely off base, but from someone who has critiqued a lot of rhyming stories, and read a lot of published rhyming books, your word count gave me pause.

And I completely agree with Debbie. Wait a few days before having the conversation. A little bit of space is rarely a bad thing. :-)

Wishing the best for you and your book. Let us know how it goes!

That's a great point.  But, it does beg the question, if the real issue is that the manuscript is too long, how come the editor just didn't come back with, "The word count needs to be reduced.  Please cut."?
#13 - June 30, 2021, 06:31 AM

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That's a great point.  But, it does beg the question, if the real issue is that the manuscript is too long, how come the editor just didn't come back with, "The word count needs to be reduced.  Please cut."?

Agreed. But if I remember correctly, this is a newish, small press, so there might be a bit of growing pains as they figure processes out?

In the end, a conversation certainly seems warranted.
#14 - June 30, 2021, 06:42 AM
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Thanks so much again to all who replied since yesterday  :love5

 
Quote
However, I have to admit, again as a fellow rhymer, that a 750 word rhyming book does seem longer than the norm

Debra, you make a good point about the length and I would be more than happy to make some cuts to get it down to a more standard PB word count. I just wish (as Hopeful also mentioned) that they had come to me and said that directly. What makes me uncomfortable is the rather haphazard way they attempted to solve the length issue without even consulting me. I do appreciate that they are trying to keep all the content -- there's something to be said for that -- but I would almost rather cut stanzas than break them up in a way that feels nonsensical.

In any case, I agree with both of you that it's something to have a conversation about. Tonight I'm going to work on drafting an email to discuss my concerns with them. I think I've cooled down a little bit, especially because today they sent me a mock-up of the page layout, and they are actually asking for reference photos and my opinion on image choices (the book is based on my childhood), which does make me feel a bit more like they care about my vision for it as a whole.

It just seems so odd that they would think to ask me about that, but not about the actual writing changes...?  :sigh

Anywho, hopefully I can draft an email that's convincing, respectful, and professional enough that we can reach a compromise where we're both happy.

I also think Hopeful brought up a good point:

Quote
Would I rather have my work published the way this editor insists on doing it or not at all?

This exact question is a big part of why I signed with them initially. I was pretty conflicted about it for a while, but I consulted my teacher from the Institute of Children's Literature and she suggested I go for it, which is what tipped the scale for me. She said that as a beginner, you can't be picky and it's more about racking up publishing credits where you can get them, and getting your stuff in print.

I think she totally has a point, but I guess I didn't realize how much they'd modify the text when I made that decision. I thought I was just compromising on the production quality, potentially, since they're a small press without much in their catalog, but I was assuming I could at least rely on the writing part still being mostly within my control.  Maybe a newbie fail, I guess  :slaphead

Not expecting anyone to write this email for me, of course, but if anyone has suggestions on wording, phrasing, etc. for how to get my point across while remaining respectful and professional, I'd love to hear!

 :thankyou
#15 - June 30, 2021, 04:13 PM
« Last Edit: June 30, 2021, 04:28 PM by rachel-berkowitz »

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For your email, be clear and concise as much as possible. To me cadence is the rhythm of an individual's speech, but rhythm is more universal. The words on the page should force someone to read it the way you hear it. Perhaps ask them to read it to you over the phone your way and their way. Explain that you want to hear what they are hearing. It could be some regionalisms are in your way and you don't know it.

And do make your own dummy first. Perhaps if they can see your layout within the page-count guideline they are using it will convince them. I have seen books split the way you're mentioning. The kids turn the page because they want to see what the next line will be and how it will rhyme. Usually the line is set at the lower right of a spread as a clear lead to turning the page.

I'd say something like "I was surprised to see how much editing you felt the book needed. I think you may have felt the work was too long but loved the content too much to consider altering it. I am so grateful you love my content. I've attached a solution to the issue of length that differs from what you sent. I'm curious to know if I'm on target or off base in my edits and assumptions. I'd love to have a call with you to discuss this further. Thank you for taking on me and my work. " (That was off the top of my head. Clean up and adjust as needed based on what you decide to do.)
#16 - June 30, 2021, 06:42 PM
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I'd begin with how much you appreciate the chance to have a personal story published but you have some concerns and then ennumerate them. And ask if it'd be a good idea to talk on the phone to iron out rhyme/rhythm.

Btw, it's not unusual to be asked for input on photo/illustration research. Children deserve accurate information. Sometimes I supply a sketch or find photos. They take care of permissions, etc.

Good luck!
#17 - June 30, 2021, 08:16 PM
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"She said that as a beginner, you can't be picky and it's more about racking up publishing credits where you can get them, and getting your stuff in print"

Obviously just my opinion but I completely disagree with the above.
Publishing credits mean very little (unless they come with 10's of thousands of sales of course:) What influences the next publisher you might submit to, is the quality and sales of your last book.  Getting work in print is a momentary excitement, it passes very quickly unless you are completely happy with the finished product. You will have to promote your book, to do that you need to love it!
You CAN be "picky", because it's your name, your work.
This is not to say that the Editor may be right or on the right track with their suggested changes. Sometimes it takes a few days to calm down from what seems like a criticism of our work, to see clearly. There is always some compromise (often for the best for the work) but it should be the Editor suggests, you agree or not, till both parties are happy with the results.
Maybe wait till after the weekend, continue mulling it over, before drafting an email or giving her a call.
In the end its you that must be pleased and proud of YOUR book.
I think Debbie's idea of dummies, to visualize page flow of both versions, is a great one. Read out loud, or have a friend/family member read to you.
#18 - July 01, 2021, 03:46 AM
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She said that as a beginner, you can't be picky and it's more about racking up publishing credits where you can get them, and getting your stuff in print.

As a former ICL instructor, I, like Chris, also *disagree* with this. I think publishing credits, any credits (if legit, of course), used to mean more back in the day. These days, if you're talking trade publishing, it's not about accumulating credits; it's about the quality of your most recent publication and how well it sold. Obscure credits do not "lead to" bigger ones, so they are not the stepping stones many would hope. I think it's a better strategy today to aim directly for the type of publisher you want to be published by as a regular thing, right out of the gate. That's the kind of history you want publishers to be able to see when subbing your next manuscript, and your next. Assuming they like the sales figures. If they don't, that's an obstacle no matter who the publisher was.

"Get your foot in the door" used to be good advice. Now it's more like "Don't waste your debut."

Unfortunately, smaller publishers don't always work the same way more mainstream ones do. The contract may not be standard. Their timelines may be different. They may edit less. Or they may do what yours did, and edit BIG without consulting you. Their editors may or may not have sufficient background to be doing the work. They may cut corners on everything from the design to the art to the font and margins. Chris is so right when she says the thrill of getting a work in print is momentary. It can pass much more quickly than you ever would have expected, but the disappointment in a less-than-excellent product will linger.

You're getting great advice on how to proceed with the editor. I hope everything works out to a satisfactory conclusion.  :goodluck
#19 - July 01, 2021, 09:48 AM
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 The editor may respond to those concerns and say these are suggested changes, not demands, which I suspect/hope is the case.



This^.
As a tactical point, it would help if you began with a suggestion the editor made that you are happy to accept, if there is one ;)
#20 - July 01, 2021, 12:10 PM
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Oh man, now I kind of feel like the world's biggest noob/idiot  :slaphead

What if it does end up being a waste of my debut and there's nothing I can do about it? Will it ruin my writing career before it even starts?

Generally I really trust my teacher's advice since we've been working together for almost two years and she's been such an incredible resource all this time. But I wonder if in this case,  her advice was coming from the way the writing world worked back in the 80s, during her beginnings.

Honestly, without much experience of my own, it's really hard for me to figure out whose advice to take sometimes.

Sigh.

I recently read The Shining for the first time and thought it was the most incredible piece of writing to ever come out of a person's mind. Then I saw the movie, and was absolutely livid when I saw how Stanley Kubrick basically just stole Stephen King's beautiful idea and turned it into something that didn't even resemble the original. Like, not even a little bit.

My point is not that I'm Stephen King or anything (obviously), but I mean, is this just how this industry works? You slave away at your desk trying to get everything just right, and then you give it to some gatekeeper with dollar signs who suddenly has a say in it even though they have nothing to do with it?

I mean, sheesh. Writing is hard enough to begin with.

Somebody please remind me that this industry can be wonderful and gratifying sometimes, and not just soul crushing... :bluesad
#21 - July 01, 2021, 01:53 PM

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My point is not that I'm Stephen King or anything (obviously), but I mean, is this just how this industry works? You slave away at your desk trying to get everything just right, and then you give it to some gatekeeper with dollar signs who suddenly has a say in it even though they have nothing to do with it?

It's not that bad. Novelists often have little (or no) say in how a movie adaptation turns out, and they might not have much say in things like covers and formatting, but the text is different. At least in my experience, the author usually maintains a lot of control here, although things might go badly if the editor and the author can't see eye to eye. As has been pointed out already, some small presses might work differently.

What if it does end up being a waste of my debut and there's nothing I can do about it? Will it ruin my writing career before it even starts?

Debuts can get a lot of attention, so it's good to get off to a strong start. But I have seen authors who published badly and then went on to bigger and better things, and I've seen authors with books that tanked who still got future book deals. Your sales record matters, but so does your next book.

I'm sure this is stressful, but try not to panic. Try to work with your editor to make sure this book is something you're happy with. Then focus on writing and selling your next book.
#22 - July 01, 2021, 02:19 PM
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MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER (Crown BFYR 2017)

40 Days for Life
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Oh dear, try not to panic. Heck, my first submission and acceptance was to poetry.com which was a total scam--when I saw some of the other poems that were going to be published in that book (which would cost $50 to buy) I wised up. When you're new, you often don't have much to leverage and you have to take what you can get--this is on the business side of things. But when it comes to the creative side, the making of the actual book, your editor has the same goal as you--make it the BEST book! So keep that in mind. Sometimes you will differ in your vision and this is why it's so important to communicate that the changes are mutually acceptable. Try to relax! Enjoy some bbq and :fireworks Celebrate!

Btw, I've never read The Shining but I think Jack N. gives a masterful performance. He is naturally scary-looking so acting psychotic fits him so well. I love that scene where he's typing...
#23 - July 01, 2021, 03:24 PM
Little Thief! Max & Midnight, Bound, Ten Easter Eggs & 100+ bks/mags
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Somebody please remind me that this industry can be wonderful and gratifying sometimes, and not just soul crushing... :bluesad

[/quote]

No worries---here's your reminder! Seriously, it can be wonderfully gratifying--and knowing you've touched young readers' hearts is so special. We've all been to the gates of the fiery pit of Rejectionland and have made it back---truly. Take heart, CUDO---Chin Up, Dust Off! Please know you have plenty of company on this journey, and this community has your back all the way! :grouphug
With aloha,
Tori :palmtree :pizza :books3

#24 - July 01, 2021, 04:02 PM
PB CALVIN'S LAST WORD, Tilbury House 2020
PB LITTLE CALABASH, Island Heritage 2020
YA SECRETS IN TRANSLATION, Fitzroy, 2018
and 28 more
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What if it does end up being a waste of my debut and there's nothing I can do about it? Will it ruin my writing career before it even starts?

No, "ruin" is too strong. Laurel's response to this question is right on. 

If your goal is to publish with Big 5 or a major independent, I would now turn to writing and polishing at least three (3) new PB projects and then think about querying agents. (Agents will want you to have more than one project ready.) Most agents will look at what you're showing them, and if they love it enough (and think they can sell it), won't be concerned about your first book. You are far from the first writer to start out with a deal that might not be ideal (then again, your conversation with the editor could make THIS deal take a turn for the better, too).

Novelists have no control over movies. (Nor do PB writers have control over illustrators, who get to bring their own vision to the text.) Those who buy movie rights have every right to change things up for the very different art form that is a film. Novelists who sell movie rights know this -- or very quickly find it out. Sometimes novelists get yelled at by the general public over the actors that get cast to play the characters -- but they have NO say in any of that. The only way to keep complete control is to not sell any rights. 
#25 - July 01, 2021, 04:06 PM
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Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
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then you give it to some gatekeeper with dollar signs who suddenly has a say in it even though they have nothing to do with it?
On the plus side, probably more than 50% of the time something that gets translated into film results in a bump in sales for the book on top of the $$$$ you got for the option. It's the rare film that can incorporate everything in the book, even if the author also does the screenplay, "True Confessions" (the 1981 film, not the TV show) being one stellar example (definitely not a kid book or movie! but it's the first one that came to mind).
#26 - July 01, 2021, 04:51 PM

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Thank you all again for the insights and encouragement.  I will attempt not to panic  ::-)

In line with all of your wonderful advice, I will continue to try and fight -- professionally and respectfully -- for a version of the book I'm happy with. Hopefully it will turn out better than I'm imagining, and if it doesn't I'll try to remember that it's not necessarily the end of the world.

Though maybe if it's really bad I can just bury all the copies in the desert like they did with that E.T. Atari game that flopped in the 80s...

I'm currently working on a few other writing projects and shopping around some other finished works, so that does help. It at least makes me feel like I don't have all my eggs in one basket.

Anywho, it's really great to have this community and I very much appreciate you all taking the time to share your thoughts. Hopefully I haven't bugged you with too many panicked posts over the past few days... :typing though I'm guessing I may be back on here with more questions depending on how things turn out with the editor going forward.

 :love5
#27 - July 01, 2021, 07:21 PM

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Good luck. And do keep us posted and ask whatever you need to. That's why these boards exist.
#28 - July 01, 2021, 08:28 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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No, you are NOT a noob! :yourock
No, one book does not ruin a career! (I'm not sure there would be any actors left if their first, less then stellar B movie, ruined theirs :)

But you may well be jumping the gun and worrying about worst case scenario far too early in the game. First you need to have that conversation with the Editor. Tell her honestly how you feel about the changes to your work. All this fretting and it may turn out she isn't married to any of her changes and she might be fine with leaving most things, as is.
Study your contract carefully to be sure of what you've agreed to, make a list of what is really bothering you about the changes, then Monday, give a call.
 :goodluck
#29 - July 02, 2021, 03:58 AM
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I've skimmed the replies, but am pretty sick today, so am being lazy and answering without reading everything! (Also, I'm a bit late to respond ...)

I've said before that I'm multi-published in adult fiction, even though I can't request my "PAL" for the SCBWI boards yet, so I'm speaking from past experience.

I've worked with four editors at a big publisher, but I've *never* had anyone change my words on me. I get edits in track changes with suggestions in the notes on the side. I've never had anything of mine changed without a conversation about it first.

Push back. It terrified me to learn to push back, but - as others have said - it's YOUR name on the cover, not theirs.

I'm very troubled by the idea you're being told that, as a new author, you shouldn't be questioning things. Even as a newbie so green I'd never even heard of track changes, let alone how to use them, I was never treated as someone who got no say in how my book turned out.

EDIT: I know an author who  anyone in Oceania would now recognise as one of the bestsellers in the region. Her first books were published terribly. The so-called editing was so bad the typos were outright embarrassing. It didn't ruin her career.  ::-)
#30 - July 02, 2021, 04:23 AM
« Last Edit: July 02, 2021, 04:27 AM by Sonya Bright »

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