Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest - Kerry Adrienne

Good morning all! Today's special guest is Kerry Adrienne, author and editor at Entangled Publishing. Kerry holds a BA in English: Writing and Editing with a minor in Classical Studies from NC State University. She has extensive freelance editing experience, and teaches various fiction writing classes at a local college. In addition to editing, Kerry writes science fiction, romantic fantasy, and paranormal romance.

Kerry is offering a giveaway so make sure you follow her instructions to be entered in the drawing.

Editing Sci-fi, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance
Kerry Adrienne

Thanks for allowing me to stop by and chat about editing! I’ve been a freelance editor for twenty years and recently took on an Associate Editor’s position at Entangled Publishing. I’d like to talk a little today about the process I use when editing a manuscript. If you yell at the tv when you hear info-dumping or throw books when you read character inconsistencies, then you have editorial tendencies. Most editors love untangling plot issues, smacking characters into shape, and grooming setting.  (No, editors are not paper-eating trolls with red pens and beady eyes. Well, maybe the beady eyes part - I definitely need reading glasses now.)

What happens after a manuscript is accepted and the contract is signed? (Associate Editors don’t acquire manuscripts) First, the book is assigned to an editor (me!) with a Senior Editor overseeing. The author and I are introduced and I get to read the manuscript for the first time. This read is for an overall view (no editing at this point, though I would be lying if I said I didn’t have at least paper and a pen to take notes). After I finish, I call the author and chat about the book. We’ll talk about general stuff : what’s the series arc (if there is a series)? Which character do you like most? (Why? And what about character “x”?) Wow, how did you research that love scene? (just kidding, I don’t ask that. Well, maybe I did, once.)

Next, I do a “first pass” read/edit. I read through the manuscript again and note any plot points that need to be fixed (he would NO WAY do that!), characterization (what? Did she go to the salon? Her hair was NOT pink in chapter 1), setting/world-building (you have large dinosaurs roaming the meadow outside town – where’s the massive poop?). Sometimes I will mark the manuscript at this point, sometimes I just include all of the issues and questions in an editorial letter to the author (these letters can range from 3-15+ pages). I also note all the things I LOVE about the manuscript. I tend to get pretty gushy about those things that make the book fabulous, unique and special. I’ll send the letter to my Senior Editor for approval and then to the author with a deadline (usually a month, but it can vary) for returning the edits.

When the manuscript comes back to me (rtf only! Track changes for all editing!), I get my coffee (lots and lots of it), put on some Green Day, and dig in. (ok, sometimes I will listen to something else like Adam Lambert, Loreena McKennitt, the Cure, Depeche Mode… depending on my mood. If I have Marilyn Manson on – I don’t edit. Wouldn’t be pretty. I save MM for when I am doing housework.) First, I look at the changes the author made. After that I start with page one and go sentence by sentence – looking for: inconsistencies, places to raise the stakes, characterization, extraneous dialogue, missing setting, things to move (rarely will I get a manuscript that starts in the correct place), etc.  If I see grammatical mistakes or misspellings, I’ll mark them – but I am focused on the meat of the manuscript at this stage.

I write another editorial letter. (I cringe when I see the amount of stuff I have marked). I take a deep breath, drink wine, and send the letter – knowing I did my job to squeeze the best possible book from the author. I talk changes -- the author writes. Often, the writer is too close to the manuscript to see things that could be stronger – and it is my job to mark those places. By this time, the author and I have a good rapport – we are both excited about the book and both trying our absolute hardest to make the book the best it can be. We are a machine, and we are cranking!

Nothing like getting the manuscript back after the second pass letter and reading through the fantastic changes the author has made! If I am lucky, there are very few things that need changes after that pass. The reality is, we often need some intermediate work - but that is ok. We scrub and polish. The third pass is usually fairly straightforward. I read the manuscript through again (this is probably the 5th or 6th time). Then I send the book to my Senior Editor and she reads it to see if the author and I missed anything. If all goes well, the book heads to copyediting where the nitty-gritty grammar stuff gets checked. During this time, the author and I will have worked on a back of the book blurb and the author will have submitted a cover art form detailing things she’d like to see on the book.

Here’s my plea:  If you have a science fiction romance manuscript – please consider submitting to Entangled! I’d love to edit some gritty hard sci-fi soon.  You can find Entangled on the web here: 

For readers of this blog, I am holding a contest. The prize will be three e-books from Entangled (your choice, my treat!) or one printed book from Entangled. To enter, please comment on this post *and* email me at with your contact information and how many entries you earned. I’ll leave the contest open until Oct. 1. You gain an extra entry each by following me on Twitter, liking my Facebook page, and commenting on my blog at my website. Here is the contact information:
Twitter: @kerryadrienne
Facebook : KerryAdrienne

-- Lynda Again
    Thanks, Kerry, for a great post! It's always fascinating to see behind the scenes in book publishing! Good luck to everybody who enters Kerry's drawing.

Have a Blessed Day!


Liz said...

great post! my very own beady-eyed. paper chomping editor at 2 other publishers has had GREAT things to say about Entangled! I don't write Science Fiction but if you are considering contemporary, I may sub! keep up the great work.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Kerry and Lynda,

It's always interesting to freelance writers like myself to hear about new publishers and their editorial process. No sci-fi novels for me either. My novels are mystery and romance. But I do some sci-fi short stories.

All the best,

Jacqueline Seewald

Hales said...

Oh, I just heard of entangled a few days ago! I don't know much about this house but what a fantastic blog! Thanks and I'm followin you everywhere!

~Mahalia Levey

Kerry said...

Thanks, everyone! I should clarify that Entangled Publishing publishes a wide range of genres - Contemporary, Paranormal, YA, and more!

My plea for hard sci-fi is a personal one! lol We have lots of fantastic editors at Entangled editing many different genres.

Please check out the home page ( more information.


Stephanie said...

Nice to meet you Kerry! Entangled has has a great looking selection.
Sounds like you go through a lengthy editing process, how long do you and the writer work together to make a story its best?

Victoria said...

Thanks for the very informative post. To be quite honest I never really new how much work an editor put into the book. I always thought it was just a couple reads with corrections/changes. How uninformed was I? Thank you again for opening my eyes.


Dellani Oakes said...

Wonderful glimpse into the mind and world of an editor. Though I don't do it professionally, I used to work with my father who edited for Southern Quarterly and University Press years ago. Interesting job for a college student! I hope the books you get to read are more interesting than the ones I read. They were mostly dry, scholarly tomes. BLAH!

Kerry said...

Stephanie -
As you might imagine, it varies from manuscript to manuscript. 6 weeks to 3 months covers most books, with 2 months being a good average. :D


desitheblonde said...
i did not now all the stuff to go in to a book once you got the one who will a accept it and then the people will do the cover and then would have the tor book and then hope it will sell ty for the info

Aubrie said...

Excellent post! And everything she says is true! Kerry's my editor at Entangled, and she's the best editor I've ever had. Not only does she help me, but she's so encouraging, she pulls me through the tough times.

mona karel said...

You had me at dinosaur poop! It's amazing how writers forget about such things as the necessity of elimination when they populate a book with animals.
Good editors must be hard to find, I've seen far too many books with glaring inconsistencies, not to mention serious grammar issues.

Anonymous said...

I just got a book contract, so this information was very helpful. I now know what to expect, or hope I get! Alas, I also write urban fantasy, so no sci fi romance from me either!
Thanks again for the eye opener!

Brinda said...

This is a great post. I love hearing the "behind the scenes" stuff and how your editor mind works.

Runere McLain said...

And now we know why the editing process is so improtant to getting published! Thanks for sharing your work day (weeks? months? Certainly a lot of time invested on an author's behalf) with us. Here's to the hope we absorbed something to beneift us as writers, and to make your job easier.

Great info! Very much appreciated!


Kerry said...

I'll be drawing the winner of the books tomorrow! Stay tuned.


Kerry said...

doh. today is not Oct 1 - tomorrow is. I will be drawing the winner tomorrow. :D sorry about that!

Janice said...

Great post. I loved reading how you go about editing.


Kerry said...

The winner of my contest is...


I'll email you privately!


Thanks for the fun week!