7 Questions With Editor Jacque Hamilton
Jacque Hamilton is a developmental editor of fiction and has been for several years. She believes that stories can teach us how to live; what to do, what not to do, and how to deal with it. They remind us that we are all works in progress and that it’s okay to take one step back, as long as we keep moving forward.
In today’s interview, Jacque shares valuable insight on working with authors, types of editing services and secrets of the craft.
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Esther Rabbit: How does a day in your life look?
It’s not as glamorous as it seems! Because I’m a writer as well, I’m sure to be creative first thing in the morning. After that, I get my child ready and off to school. My first tasks are usually the ones that take the most creative energy, because by the end of the day, that energy is spent.
I may make in-text suggestions on a novel or write a review letter. Sometimes I’ll review work with a coaching client and create a new assignment for them, or get an assessment for a potential client going. The boring stuff is next: invoicing, quote creation, logging hours, office type work.
Responding to emails happens just before I can no longer stand looking at a screen, followed by social media marketing. I get to settle in with a manuscript and take notes at the end of the day, when it’s time to wind down.
Esther Rabbit: What are some of the myths around the editing business?
A lot of times I get asked if I’ll be making the story changes or if they (the author) will. As an editor all I do is make suggestions so the book is engaging to readers, makes sense and has expected structure, while keeping true to the vision of the author. It’s always up to the author to make changes as they see fit.
Esther Rabbit: How do you manage to juggle life and editing?
The same way anyone balances life, work, and passions I suppose! Being a freelancer means that I have a flexible schedule to deal with things like the school patriot program, or a morning bicycle ride with my husband. That doesn’t mean I can ignore the pile of manuscripts or emails (im)patiently waiting for me.
Sometimes it means missing a baseball game in the evening or leaving a heap of clean clothes on the love seat. Balance in life doesn’t mean all things equal all the time. A little give and take is needed.
It’s nice to have a week where everything runs smoothly, but there will always be those times where I’m so busy with work I have little time to shower, and other times, life takes over and I’m getting a manuscript read in between doctor appointments. I just take it one week at a time.
Esther Rabbit: What should authors do before handing you over a manuscript?
Make sure your work is in the best possible shape it can be. Even if that means you’re stuck, make sure you’ve expended all your creative juices and make sure it’s formatted correctly! Not only will this ensure you get the best edit possible, but you’ll save money in the long run.
Esther Rabbit: Could you give authors a few tips on writing?
There’s always the advice to stop thinking about writing and just write, but you can revise a story to death. If you want to be a published author, you’ve got to know when enough is enough and let someone else take a look at it.
Otherwise, it’ll be the project that never ends. Don’t be afraid to let your story rest, either. Work on something else for a week or a month, just be sure to come back to it with fresh eyes and an open mind.
Esther Rabbit: How many services can you offer authors and how do they differ?
All of my services revolve around developmental editing also called content editing or substantive editing. I offer four tiers of services, Spot Toning, Trim and Tone, Full Body Toning, and Coaching. Coaching is for those that have an idea for a book but don’t know where to start or are stuck somewhere along the way.
Sometimes authors want to traditionally publish and don’t want to spend the money or time on a full edit, so editing the beginning chapters will be best, that’s Spot Toning. If a book is in really good shape or it’s the second read through, a review letter is the way to go (Trim and Tone), but most of the time a full edit (Full Body Toning) will be most beneficial.
That’s the traditional bleeding page with an accompanying review letter. Once I see a manuscript, I make a recommendation, and we move forward from there.
Esther Rabbit: Do you also recommend the authors you have worked with on social media or your website?
It’s important to authors that that their books get in the hands of readers, and it’s equally important for editors to have authors whose books are being read. Anytime a writer friend or one of my clients publishes, I’m sure to share as much as I can on social media. Sometimes just sharing an update on a cover release can have an impact on book sales, because a book can’t be read if no one knows about it.
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“A new Interplanetary Alliance ambassador on an earthbound mission.
A handful of genetically altered humans to be rescued.
Meeting her changed everything.“