#SaystheEditor Why One File is Best


One in an occasional series

A lot of my authors seem to prefer to send me their manuscripts in two halves.

Maybe they do it so they don’t have to pay my fees upfront. But… using PayPal’s Bill Me Later feature is now an option when you pay us at West of Mars. Using that will let you defer payments, although there are service charges and interest that need to be considered. I get how that would be a deterrent. I do.

Maybe some of my two-parter clients have set an editing date that they then scramble to meet, so by sending half the manuscript, they are buying themselves extra time to work on the back half. In that case, I’d rather shuffle your project to a later date. I’m starting to move to a “send it now” schedule — meaning that you send it when ready and I’ll get to it in order of arrival. I’m trying to get better about billing not before I start the project ahead of yours. You shouldn’t have to pay and then wait for a month. That’s a crazy long time.

(Of course, asI move to “send it now,” authors will always be able to reserve dates. There will start to be a deposit to save, and that deposit will be waived if the date isn’t met. Reserving dates means I am not letting anyone else have that time, and if you bail, it’s not fair to them. Or me.)

Whatever the reason, I do a better job as your editor when I have one file for the whole manuscript. That’s because there has yet to be a manuscript I haven’t had to search through. Did I remember to remove the hyphen in tiptoe? Makeup? And don’t forget the -wards siblings. Toward. Backward. No S on the end, folks. That’s a common search.

One file for your manuscript means if I want to reference something earlier — a character’s eye color, a point on the timeline — it’s easier to find. The file is already open and waiting. I don’t have to search fruitlessly through one only to get frustrated when I have to break my rhythm and search for that second file.

Of course, this is always an issue when working on series. I make extensive notes when working on a series. And… I do my best to refer to them, too.

One file. One payment. Makes life so much better for your editor, and a better life means a better job done for you, as well. I’m only human. I make mistakes. I challenge you to find the person — or these horrible new computerized editors — who doesn’t make a mistake.

So even if you have to send your file in two parts, be sure to let you editor know if she can cut and paste the second part into the first. For consistency. For a better editing job.

Aren’t you worth that? Aren’t your readers?


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