Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Awesome Editor- Judy Roth

Today Margaret is hosting an interview with Devlin, the male MC (main character) from Quest of the Hart over at Unique Visions. Stop by and see who else shows up!

My amazingly talented and wonderful to work with Content Editor, Judy Roth, graciously agreed to answer a bunch of questions I had about the editing process that I thought you would all find quite interesting. So, without further ado, I give you Judy!


Thank you Mary for having me on your blog today. You are a terrific writer to work with and I always enjoy your stories.

Aww, thanks, Judy. I really love working with you, too! You always get where I am going, and make sure it reads as it's supposed to. Now for some questions.

When you're given a book to edit what do you do? What's your process? Do you read through it and make notes? Read through then go back and make notes?
As a writer I am a pantser all the way so I have tried very hard as an editor to be a little more organized. I have lists I check off to be sure I am thinking of everything and I try to have the first round be all about the big picture, the second a real look at consistency, and have each round after that go to the smaller and smaller picture until, wa-la, we’re done. In reality, however, once a pantser always a pantser, it’s just how my mind works, and I tend to do a little of everything all at the same time. To answer your question more specifically, yes, I read through and make comments within the manuscript, and I also keep a sheet of notes to discuss with the author and a sheet of notes to remind me of things that don’t need to be taken care of right away.

After you make your comments and suggestions and send it back to the author, what is your next step? Do you ever look at the changes they've made and think they went way off track from your suggestions? If so, do you try and turn them back on track or see where the new path takes them?
One of the things that amazes me most about authors is their willingness to accept feedback and go with it. I am continually impressed with how much thought authors put into my comments and how they creatively solve issues. Almost always they go beyond what I imagined or asked for and I get to write a big fat “PERFECT, GOOD JOB” on the bottom of the comment. The occasional strays off the path seem to occur when I haven’t been clear enough about what I was asking or I was misinterpreted. The one thing I tell all my authors so many times they must want throttle me is to ask questions when they don’t understand where I’m coming from because that’s when they can go off track. [Love seeing those Great! and Yes! when I get back a round of feedback from you- gives me a great sense of accomplishment.]

How many back and forth passes do you usually do with an author?
As many as it takes. Never less than three and often several more.

What happens if an author doesn't want to make a suggested change? Do you talk about it? Agree to disagree?
That depends on whether I’m working on the ms for a publishing house or I’m working with an author independently. In both cases, I feel like it’s my job to help the author’s voice be heard, and to that end, if we are not seeing eye to eye I try rewording my suggestion to see if I am not being clear, but ultimately it is the author’s name on the beautiful cover and it’s her story. So to me, there is no agreeing or disagreeing. It’s about getting the story to where the author wants it. The only time I ever have to put my foot down is if a publishing house has a specific guideline.

How many books do you work on at a time? What genres?
While I may be working with five or more authors at a time, I only work on one pass of one manuscript at a time. I really like and need to get into the story and put all my energies into it so I notice plot inconsistencies etc. I also judge contests and I am a mentor for my local RWA chapter, CTRWA. I edit most genres. A captivating story with terrific attention grabbing characters can take place anywhere, any time.

What's your favorite genre to work with?
I can’t answer that. I’m a sucker for terrific characters and I’m willing to go back in time, forward, dig into a mystery, hang with the vampires, heat it up, or enjoy a lovely fantasy world as in your beautiful stories.

Do you write? If so what? And where can we find you on the web?
I have a writing and critique partner I’ve been working with for about seventeen years. He is a better marketer and has three published manuscripts. I tend to write the story and put it under my bed. We are currently working on two projects, one is a romantic suspense and the other is non-fiction. Along with writing, I have devoted much of my time for many years now to editing other writers which I truly love. I do have a website for my editing business and that address is judy-roth.com. I can also be reached by e-mail at judy.b.roth@gmail.com or phone at 203-500-0041.

Thank you so much for sharing all that with us, Judy! And if anyone is looking for an editor, swing by Judy's site and check it out. 

26 comments:

  1. Mary and Judy,
    Thanks for sharing that awesome interview. It is interesting to hear about the editing process.

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    1. Thanks, Victoria. Glad you enjoyed it. They were all questions I wondered about the process, and was pretty sure others wondered, too!

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    2. Thank you Victoria,

      Glad you found it interesting. I thank Mary for letting me talk a little about the editing process as my family's eyes tend to glaze over. LOL

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  2. Yes, I recognise the process described. Judy is my one copy editor so far, although I've had a few play directors and dramaturgs, and it was a painless experience. No Darlings were killed. Result, Mariah's Marriage, is out from Muse on Frday 3rd May. Thanks again Judy - and Mary. Great interview. Anne

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    1. Thanks, Anne! I just love working with Judy. She is so detailed in what she looks at and her comments to you.

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    2. Thanks Anne,

      How exciting, only three days away for Mariah's Marriage!

      And thank you and Mary for for kind words. You are both terrific writers with great books!



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  3. Hi ladies. This is a great post! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Penny, and you're welcome!

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    2. Thank you Penny and thanks for popping in!

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  4. Great interview. I am also a huge Judy Roth fan :)

    Jennifer Lawrence

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    1. Hi Jen,

      Thanks and I am a huge fan of yours! Mesmerizing vampire stories!!

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  5. Mary and Judy--Thanks so much for this blog post! I am about to start content editing with Katie, so I'm grateful to have an idea of what to expect! :)

    Erin Albert

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    1. Hi Erin,

      Thanks for saying hi and good luck on your edits and book! I know you will love Katie.

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    2. You're welcome, Erin! Glad it's given you an idea of what happens. Best of luck with your release.

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  6. "One of the things that amazes me most about authors is their willingness to accept feedback and go with it."--Judy Roth

    When an editor starts by making it clear that they love your manuscript and want to help it become the best it can be, it's difficult to ignore their suggestions. Judy, you and Tanja rock!

    Mary--you've got a gem assigned to you. Welcome to Muse!

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    1. Hello it's so good to hear from you after a time and thank you. I think about your wonderful YA story often!

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    2. Thanks, Lianne! I can't agree more!!!

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  7. Hi Judy and Mary, great article, Judy. I loved what you did for my self-pub book. At Muse I have the lovely and talented Julie. I'm so fortunate to have worked with you both.

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    1. Hi, Marian! Thanks for stopping by!

      Judy is great to work with. Very clear, and always willing to explain or bounce things around if there's a question.

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    2. Hi Marian,

      Julie is great and I loved working with you on the self pub. Good to know that the end of the world isn't the end!!

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  8. I'm impressed with your process, Judy. I have two editors. They both seem to have a process similar to yours but I only go around once with each of them since time is of the essence with self-publishing. I add a couple of Beta readers and a proof reader at the end before it goes to final print, but without all that feedback,the books just wouldn't be well written...period.

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    1. PJ- I think that's a great method. Not all self-pubbed authors go through an editor. For me, if I were self-pubbing, that is one thing I'd gladly pay for. It makes such a difference in the story.

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    2. Hi PJ,

      So good of you to pop in. Whatever your process is, keep going. It works!

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  9. Great interview! I adore my editing team, too. MuseItUp really hit the jackpot with you, Judy, and Annie Duguid. Wow, I've never been so happy.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! I totally agree. Muse has absolutely wonderful people to work with!

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Thanks for dropping by. I love reading comments and will respond by e-mail as soon as possible.