We often are sucked into the solitary nature of writing. It is not something which requires an audience to perform; the keyboard is not conducive to duets; and the fewer people to distract the better. Writing a book is normally just the author and the characters until it becomes an official manuscript.
When it comes time to submit the manuscript to outside eyes and hands, the solitary nature falls away from the work. In many instances, it becomes a one-on-one relationship between author and editor. Such is the life in traditional publishing.
When I asked Gail to write about her editing experience, she exposed the other, less frequent, instance: The building of a community. Here is what Gail had to say about her experience with Redmund Productions and the editing of both of her manuscripts.
In the beginning…
In the year 2000, I joined a local writer’s group with twelve members and began writing my memoir, The Girl in the Iron Lung. Five years later it was completed, and I began to send queries out. Ten versions of the query and over two hundred rejection letters later, I let my manuscript collect dust on a shelf, hoping one day something would change. It was eighteen years ago.
I found The M3 Blog in April of last year, and began following it and commenting daily. I came to know Red and the other visitors well and had found a home for myself in the Blogosphere, unlike any other place I had visited. I eagerly followed the myriad of links for information, inspiration and direct advice, which ultimately has changed my life and the way I see the world. I developed a deep respect and fondness for Red and sought her out. It was her integrity, character, devotion to people, and honesty, which were a magnet for me. I had never met anyone like her before.
Limited Time Offer!
In August, when she announced the opportunity for twenty books to place in her new business venture, Redmund Productions, I jumped. I had no second thoughts, doubts or anxiety about having my manuscript in her capable hands. I simply asked her if she had room for my book and also asked if she had room for a book of poetry. She answered yes to both questions. I had published some of my poetry in independent journals and the experience wasn’t satisfactory for me. It was piecemeal, and I had stopped sending poetry out as a result. I sent her my flawed and poorly formatted manuscripts. My adrenaline rushed. I cried. I laughed. I thanked her profusely. I had a lot of trouble sleeping for several weeks after that.
In her original post, and in subsequent ones, she stressed the community aspect of publication through Redmund. I didn’t know the nature of the community at that time, but I was happy to find any and all ways to contribute to that community as much as possible to see my books published. The editing, layout, production and creation of the business with endless hours of dedication, successes and setbacks were the commitment Red had taken on for me. No one would or has ever made that kind of commitment to my work. She wanted to create the best books possible for all of the authors. She is an author’s publisher. I know I flooded her inbox in my eagerness, and at all times she was professional, helpful, and open to my concerns.
Then the forum opened, and Red posted tasks for the authors to work on together. The place exploded with enthusiasm from all of us to offer up our individual talents to reach a common goal. We were writers, Beta readers, artists, videographers, artistic critics and friends. With Red’s guidance and constant encouragement, we worked hard and often long hours knowing whatever we were doing was dwarfed by the responsibility she had taken on and was working with on her end with editors, layout, production, details we’ll never know about and creation of a meteor of a publishing business.
Through Beta reading, I learned more about my fellow authors, and they in turn about me. I cherished the feedback I received from them about my books, and it was key to transforming my books into cohesive wholes, rather than parts put together. The reading I did for others taught me valuable life lessons, and I didn’t take them lightly or without introspection. Not only were my books transformed, but I was, too.
I worked on videos, and the pace was intense, but the creativity of combined efforts of the artists, Red and myself to produce quality videos for pre-release was exhilarating work and I relished it. I had set the bar high for myself and stretched my abilities in ways I never had before. I am so glad to have had that opportunity.
I received my proofs, and the covers came along with them, created by one of the artists for me. They were priceless to me, and I am proud to have them as the centerpiece of my work. As for the proofs, I received several of them from Red, all in various stages of completion asking me for approval and edits and feedback. I was in control of the creation of my books, from the first words typed in in 2000 to the completed volumes they are today.
I want to thank Red for creating Redmund Productions and for accepting and giving me a chance at publication of my books. I also want to thank Red and the community for holding my hand, for believing in me until I believed in myself, and for the combined efforts that truly make my words a work of art.
Back to you, Red…
To say this guest post shocked me would be my usual understated self. I set out to make Redmund Productions be a whole new breed of animal. Reviews like this one let me know I am on the right track.
Thank you, Gail.