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You will need to create an account with the copyright office.  Once you establish this, select the TX form to register a book of fiction.  Within that application form  (I say form which implies paper, but these forms can be filled out online) you will have the option to include images or artwork, and list the illustrator -in this case, you.  If it is a different person, you will either list them as copyright owner of the images, or that the images are a work made for hire. There are many videos and sidebars on the copyright site that will help you through the process.
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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.)
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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
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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.
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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."?
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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!
97
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).
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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!
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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
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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
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