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Betta Ferrendelli Books

1Writer Conversations

A Conversation with David Taylor

Posted on 9 December, 2016 at 10:15

As a writer, there is perhaps, nothing more critical than having a good editor as part of your team. I have been blessed to be able to work with David Taylor of thEditors for the last four years. You can read a little bit about him and his business thEditors in this Q&A:

Q: What was behind your decision to start thEditors?

A: Myself and a few other authors got together and decided to form Initially it was more of a Beta reading type of group. People loved the feedback I was giving and eventually one person offered to pay me for a developmental edit of her book. That was the first time I thought that there may be potential to make a living from this. Many, many years and several courses later here we are! Several editors have worked with me over the intervening years, and I have three people working with me now, Rachael, Kathleen and Kat. I’m also considering bringing in a fourth person for busy periods.

Q: What do you look for when you see a book project for the first time?

A: In general I look at a few basic things: • First and foremost – did I like the excerpt? • Do the characters feel real, or at least feel like they have potential? • Are there areas that I feel could be improved? • Is the plot cliché or does he/she have something unique? • What kind of standard is the writing itself?

Q: What you do for authors can often be a delicate subject, how do you work around that—specifically when a project does need a considerable amount of work?

A: Honesty is all-important. You have to say it as it is. People don’t come to us to hear how pretty their baby is. People come to us to see how their work can be improved, to learn where they are going wrong and what they can do to fix it. For that you have to be honest. However, being honest doesn’t mean being harsh or cruel. I always like to look for the positive aspects and bring them out; is there a particular character that is done well? Ok then, let’s have more of him/her. Is there a particular plotline that is interesting/clever? Right, lets see how we can flesh that out etc. Then you highlight the weak areas, characters, plotlines and see what can be done to help. And, of course, there is the cutting. I often advise cutting thousands upon thousands of words from any given manuscript. I think once you give the reasons behind why various scenes/plotlines/characters need to go, the author will usually agree.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?

A: I love meeting new authors and chatting with them, but that aside, the developmental side of things is easily the most enjoyable aspect of editing a manuscript. My aim is to find a good book/excerpt and try to turn it into a great one. The more author interaction I get the better. I actually love the moments when I suggest something and the author does not entirely agree, but comes up with an alternative that neither of us would have thought of before.

Q: What aspects of your job do you enjoy least?

A: Proofing can be tedious, but many hands make light work! Also the ‘slush-pile’ as they call it, can at times be a trial to get through.

Q: We connected through Twitter, as we both follow each other. What is the most common way for authors to contact you?

A: We do get some clients directly off of places like Twitter, but recommendations and word of mouth are by far our biggest source of new clients. For a free sample edit send your first 3,000 words.

Q: You have written your own book. Tell us a bit about it.

A: Hah! I won’t pimp it out here. I’ll just say if you want to find it, it’s not hard! OK, so Dave won’t, but I will, you can find Shiri on Amazon.

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