Would you be willing to share what sort of things constitute editorial changes? I am a beta reader for a couple of authors, but I’d love to be able to do more.
Editorial changes come in different varieties.
Content editorial changes.
These are the changes made by the primary editor on the first pas through a finished manuscript. Here is Anne Sowards with the first few pages of Magic Binds. Anne’s changes are in blue, our follow up edits are in red. Content editors shape the manuscript into a book.
If you are on mobile and you can’t see the entire page, your best bet is to download the file. It ends up being way too small on a cell.
Stephanie’s changes are in magenta, our follow-up is in red. Copyeditors fix grammar, punctuation, and inconsistencies.
Beta Read Comments
This was a very useful beta read.
Hope that helps.
Test. Why does this comment issue keep happening? I have things to do today.
works for me
I’m surprised the Beta reader was the first one who recognized ‘oath’ was wrong. It stood out when I read it.
Moderator R says
You did, however, miss the part where the text in red is the follow up to the CE feedback 😉 . Meaning the CE hasn’t seen it ????
Gaëlle from France says
Test because of Ilonas’ comment. Just wondered if I would have issue posting a comment…
Also want to say that was really interesting to read, so thank you…
Moderator R says
There was no issue with people commenting ????.
I just wasn’t getting them delivered to my inbox. All fixed now!
This was enormously interesting. The degree of expertise in English language grammar and usage demonstrated by both the content and copy editors is impressive. As is their ability to pay attention to the language without getting so absorbed in the story that they miss corrections and suggestions.
I suspect this last would rule me out for either task. Your writing style is so engaging!
Appreciate the insight into that side of the writing/publishing process.
This is why I don’t offer editing advice. I leave it up to the people who are *good* at it, and thus get paid to do it.
Also, my dyslexia gets worse as I age…
Thank you for the post – and thank your editors for helping you make your books even better.
what does “echo” mean in the edits made by the CE?
Moderator R says
ah. thanks! learned something new ????
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you, Ilona Andrews for the post. It was interesting to see the process.
I just read yesterday’s post. Thank you for rescuing Lola.
Personally, I have always been grateful for the Good Samaritan fund at my local vet when they call because they need someone to care for a rescued animal until a forever home can be located. Medications are expensive as is good vet care. Food and caregiving I can do as I am already owned by avians, bovine, canines and felines. ????. And labs are natural rescue rangers. Sigh ????
Lee Anne says
I wanted to also thank you HA for your compassion to a poor dog in need. It’s absolutely tragic that elderly dogs are abandoned when their needs become expensive.
We always rescue older dogs in our house. Even though we don’t get to spend as much time with them as we would want , it’s more than made up for by their unconditional love.
Very interesting post, thank you.
Oddly, what stands out to me is that your copy editor wants you to spell it “gray” and you keep spelling it “grey” anyway. It always points out to me that American English is not your first language when that happens. But seeing it here tells me that you definitely do what you need to do to make your books work, and nobody changes things without you agreeing to it. I love how many times it is noted that you could make the changes, but not unless you want to. You’ve got some good people doing that work. Looking behind the scenes is always interesting to me.
So both spellings are the name of a color, but I use them this way:
It was a cold, gray day.
The gravel on the path was gray.
The prince’s eyes were grey, giving him that “brooding hero” look.
Her woolen cloak was a dark grey.
(I really don’t know why I use this method. Maybe something from jr. high writing classes – expanding vocabulary?)
Kim Stewart says
“Grey” does seem to have more gravitas, somehow. Days can be gray. But I would’ve used grey for the cloak, too. It’s pretty intuitive, though, can’t justify it. Just know that they’re slightly different.
Lee Anne says
Per my google of how to spell gray, I found an interesting article that said our founding fathers deliberately changed the spelling of some things so that it would be distinct from England’s. Such as using er at the end of a word instead of re or using a instead of e in gray. So the result was A=America and E=England.
My difficulty was many of my college text books were British instead of American so my spelling is usually unique. ????
Maybe you use grey when describing a person because you read British authors?
“It always points out to me that American English is not your first language when that happens. ”
How to alienate a person in one sentence or less. Ugh.
Exactly what I was thinking!
Matthew Smith says
Hey, your English, American or otherwise, is loads better than their Russian. ???? Don’t sweat the small stuff
And yet, that alienation was not the intent. The fact that you use spelling from somewhere else simply points out that you are that far ahead in the game of being intelligent that you know probably 3 languages I can think of and manage to work with many others as well. Multi-lingual people fascinate me because I tried to learn to speak Italian and failed miserably because there are simply too many dialects involved. As I read what Alessandro said, I knew what he was saying, and yet I cannot speak the language worth anything at all if I’m in a conversation with someone who speaks it as a first language. Written, I can understand it. Spoken, I have a hard time because it sounds much different than what I heard as a child.
The point I was making was that when an editor disagrees with you using that spelling, you persist, which says to me that you stick to your guns and do what you want to do, no matter what someone else says. Yet another trait of an intelligent person. I’m sorry if the way I pointed it out insulted you somehow.
The two words are interchangeable, and yet one is British, one is American. It just stands out to me, because for some reason, that’s how I see the world. I also notice that many authors use the word “colour” instead of “color”. They mean the same thing, yet they are completely different words to me. It flavors the book when I see words spelled correctly in other areas of the world but not in the United States. It wasn’t a “dig” at anyone at all. It is just something that I notice in passing every time I read your books, and I have most of them, because they are so well done that I can’t pass them by.
I’m American, and use the “grey” spelling whenever I can get away with it, i.e. unless someone with more authority over the text insists on the other spelling. I do it that way because I like it better. Granted that my preference probably comes from reading a lot of British authors in my younger days, both spellings are correct, so I have no plans to change.
I always thought that both grey and gray were correct. Even seeing these documents, my first thought was just that they were running up against the publisher’s style sheet.
Do non-US English versions get localized spelling? Does it depend on who your primary publisher is such as US market vs UK first like JK Rowling was?
As a British reader, only talking about my personal experience, I can tell you that some authors get a localised spelling and some don’t. I’m not sure why, it may be to do with the cost v anticipated sales, but I am only guessing.
I think every Kerri Arthur book I’ve read has had the England version of spelling, and I don’t think it’s because all of her books take place in Australia. However, I’m pretty sure Nalini Singh is Kiwi and I’ve never noticed the spelling, but maybe she only lives in NZ now and isn’t originally from there.
For me, when the book takes place in England, Canada or Australia, or even Europe, the spelling and word choices don’t bother me at all. Or rather, they make perfect sense.
I have had so much fun looking up words I’m not familiar with, especially slang and food! I do find it jarring to read “British” words or slang used (like vest and jumper instead of tank top and sweater) when the character is supposed to be an American. I often have to go back and double check where we are supposed to be in the “book” world. When the book is good this doesn’t detract after I adjust my thinking to outside the “American” box but I wondered if anyone else has this issue. I do like when authors give their characters different nationalities and backgrounds with the appropriate slang but I wonder if people of that background find the slang use “wrong” and if so does that throw you when reading it? I mean an English character calling a waistcoat a vest would sound weird to an English person, right?
I remember the first time I read that the female protagonist put on a vest as a casual outfit and thought to myself “cute fashion choice but not casual”. She continued wearing “vests” throughout the book and the picture in my American brain just didn’t match the characters action/attitude. I mean, why is this woman wearing a piece of a suit to work out in? What was her dry cleaning bill going to be? I finally realized I was wrong somehow cuz that made no sense, checked where the author was from and figured it out. Hahaha, but phew, neither the author nor I was crazy.
So, this leads me to a question I’ve had for a while. Are authors from other countries who write in English but are obviously read all over the world encouraged to use American vs British English, or does it matter to the publishing world? I’ve read British/Canadian/Australian/New Zealand authors who “sound” American and others who don’t. Is this an author’s voice choice (snigger) or an editorial choice?
Love the insight you give us into a writer’s world! Thanks!
Patricia Schlorke says
Nalini Singh lives in New Zealand. She use to live in Japan before living in NZ. She also does extensive research of places she writes in her books if she’s not familiar of the place. When Nalini wrote Rock Addiction, she went to Los Angeles and toured the areas written in her book. She also toured the Pacific Coast Highway. That’s probably why her spelling sometimes is the American version or sometimes the English version. I just get wrapped up in the story to notice spelling. ????
I was reading an alternate worlds fantasy, with both native British and native American characters, the Author was British. All the characters used British words. One of the words ‘hide’ threw me, they purchased a ‘hide’, I thought it was an animal’s skin, like cowhide. As the story progressed the hide was used, it was a ‘hunting blind’ used for camouflage .
1. What is the green text in the first document?
2. Unrelated to this post, but unsure where to post it. Have been re reading Hidden Legacy the last few days and went to hit the Rogan and Arabella pov short stories and didn’t see the Rogan Wildfire pov part 2? I thought I remembered reading it awhile back, though it could be wishful thinking on my part. The POV with the Ade-Afefe(sp) is labeled as part 1 though.
Moderator R says
1. It appears to denote the instance where the text isn’t changed in any way but is moved somewhere else????
2. There isn’t a part 2 to the Wildfire POV
I hope this helped ????
It did, thank you.
Patti in Ohio says
I read your answer and then tried to find the POV with Ade-Adefe and couldn’t find it – is it listed under Free and I just missed it, or where else should I look?Moderator R. please help! Thank you.
Moderator R says
All Rogan POVs can be found here https://ilona-andrews.com/category/avon-2/rogan-pov/ ????. The Adé-Afẹ́fẹ́ appear in the Wildfire POV.
I put together a list of all the fiction bits and snips on the website here ( end of the article) https://ilona-andrews.com/2021/friday-basics-and-a-list/
Hope this helps ????
Patti in Ohio says
Wow, you’re fast – and good. Thanks again.
Patti in Ohio says
Looked again and found it! Don’t know how I missed it when it was posted, usually I haunt all of the categories. Thanks anyway, Moderator R.
Really interesting thank you ????
Marie S says
Thank you for rescuing Lola and for this interesting post.
Thank you so much – that is very helpful!!
There’s a typo in the first sentence under “Content editorial changes” of your post. It should say “pass” and not “pas”.
Does that mean I passed the copy editor test? 🙂
Moderator R says
No, but it does mean you are in breach of blog rules https://ilona-andrews.com/blog-rules/
Please don’t point out typos, in posts or comments, we are here to have fun ????
Patricia Schlorke says
Go Mod R! ????
Abha Dhupkar says
This puts a while new spin on the efforts taken by all involved in publishing a book! Hats off, seriously!
Another thing which I realised, was the superhuman effort of the editor, copy and beta reader to not get so immersed in the story, that they forget the task laid out in front of them.
Just a question: is the book sent by the authors in bits or bulk? As in, a chapter is finished and sent over, or wait for the whole book and send it over all at once….
Moderator R says
The manuscript is sent out as a whole and the pros have no problem disconnecting from the narrative usually ????.
I say “the pros” and “usually” because I was in the beta reader team for Fated Blades (don’t hate me cause you ain’t me ????) and I absolutely needed one first read just to engulf the story and a second pass to focus on the things I wanted to point out. You’re in for a treat!
Hope this helps ????
I’ve done a little beta reading for a different author, and I find that I tend to do three passes: one to just read and get the whole story, another for plot/don’t understand this, and a third for awkward phrasing & typos. I guess the last is technically copy editing, but I can’t help myself. You know that tic that Hugh gets when he senses someone is hurt and needs to fix it? That’s me with typos and grammar issues.
LOL, I just did that with a grant application that someone had already turned in, and I was just reading for research. I couldn’t stand it.
Forgot! Lola is a cutie. Hope the intros go well.
I appreciate the post. Thank you.
So interesting to see how the text evolves. Thanks for that!
Judy Schultheis says
Thank you. You picked a couple of my favorite scenes to use for examples. Reading this was fun.
It was really fun to read through the different edits and see all the work going into making the books so fun to read! Thanks for sharing!
Super interesting post. Thanks!
I have a couple of questions. I’ve seen on e-books that I bought from Amazon that sometimes there’s a little note saying “Update available.” What sort of update is it?
Also, if after publishing you find an error, something minor that won’t change the plot, is it changed in future editions? For example, a character is said to be a redhead in one paragraph and a blonde in the next.
Tiger Lily says
Thank you for helping Lola.
I always enjoy these posts about a book’s process. Thank you!
Also a huge thank you for taking in Lola and making her comfortable for however much time she has left. Is there a way I can donate funds to help out? Vet bills are not cheap!
Moderator R says
House Andrews will not be doing funding for this ????.
We can show love and support the books, that’s all ????.
Reading these sent me straight into flashback mode, reminding me why I stopped being a professional editor: I absolutely can’t read for content and copy separately (amongst many other reasons, of course)
Question for a potential future ‘Writing’ post:
What creative decision about world building and/or character development have you most regretted or would you like to go back in time to amend? Obviously, as Authorlords*, you change “minor” details**, like Arrosa’s Prime status, but have you had to create awkward explanations/leave out awesome ideas because of something to big/connected to change?
Basically, what alternative stories and scenes *didn’t* we get to read because of continuity? And what good things only happened because of a creativity-inducing continuity-related obstacle?
*and I use the term advisedly
**your milage may vary
[Having outed myself as an editor, I am guaranteed to have made at least 1 mistake; please excuse me.]
Ooooooooo, good question!
Richard Mannin says
I do some slush pile reading for Baen, and the original manuscripts that most people send are terrifying. It makes it so hard to actually “Read” the story that I get lost in the “yuck factor” of the grammar and word placement and have a hard time trying to follow what the author was trying to convey. What it appears you send in has already been polished to an extreme, yet it is easy to see how they bring it to a real shine. Thanks for the peek.
Sorry, out of topic, but the replies are closed on that old Cornelius snippet, but I’m re-reading BFM and saw this:
“You are an animal mage.” They were so rare that I’d only met one before.
“Yes. I’m not a Prime so you shouldn’t worry about me summoning a pack of wild wolves to rip you to shreds.”
Lie? So Nevada knew about Cornelius? Reading that again hits differently after knowing his secret weapon at the of WH. Same with when Augustine was giving that speech about dark horses after the Baranovsky event, the sacrifices they make. The silence of Cornelius during the scene feels heavier now during re-read.
I don’t know if all this detail was all planned from the very beginning, but it adds to the value and enjoyment of re-reads. Thank you House Andrews.
I see “I’m not a Prime” as technically not a lie in Cornelius’s mind, so probably wouldn’t register on the Truth-Radar – Cornelius seeing it as an unwanted title that he never achieved. While he may later be demonstrated to have the power of a prime, at this point he may not even know himself – having never had reason or interest to push to the limit. Also, he isn’t lying about not having a pack of wild wolves at his beck and call.
From the comments from the Cornelius snippet, someone said that IA confirmed in a Q&A that Cornelius tested down, part of the plan to use Cornelius to buy House Pierce patronage:
“They tend to use me”
“I was the ugly friend who makes a woman look better at a party: less powerful, less wealthy, less significant.”
“It’s an insidious practice,” Augustine continued, disgust pain in his voice.”
“It requires a huge sacrifice on the part of the dark horse. They can never admit their Prime status or reap any of the benefits it affords. They are always viewed as lesser by their peers.”
That’s why I said there’s an additional layer of pain on re-reading when they were talking about Dark Horses because Cornelius, in a way, is one, and he was just right there.
As for Nevada, that part about summoning a pack of wild wolves might “ping” differently, like that first time when Nevada was talking to Rogan at Takara:
“…then I followed you to Mercer”
“My magic came on high alert. It wasn’t a lie exactly, but it felt off to me.”
I mean yes, Cornelius will literally not attack with wild wolves so that’s not a lie, but if Cornelius was set up as a Prime who tested down as Significant, Nevada should have felt something off, and whether or not she was experienced enough to recognize the lie in their first meeting, she must at least suspect it after the events of WH.
(Sorry for the quote barrage, been rereading HL books and I can’t help but remember and add them).
I just wanted to say thank you for taking in that stray puppy and giving it the care and love it deserves! I wish more people were like you and Gordon.
This is for the previous post. Bless you and your family for caring for Lola. You are such kind people.
A random question for Mod R’s list?
I just bought my first special gaming computer (!!!!, I almost fainted ngl) and was wondering what kind of gaming rigs House Andrews has/likes? And what kind of gaming rigs do you *dream* of?
Much love and have a lovely weekend! Had a bad day the other day and read Innkeeper bk. 2 to cheer myself up. Lo and behold, it helped. 🙂 Thanks for all you do.
All HA books, but HL and Innkeeper in particular, are my comfort reads too, along with one of Ilona’s recommendations, the Case Files of Henry Davenforth. They are the best soothers.
It’s lovely that Lola will have a safe and happy life for whatever time she has.
Thank you for sharing. Seeing the process gives people like me hope that maybe one day we can write too.
I would have to read a book and be able to give constructive feedback.
I have a question: how do you plan how long it will take for you to write a book? I mean you can’t force to have a creative day, can you?
Brandon Sanderson for example seems to be very good at judging his progress, he plans a year ahead and even has progression bars for his projects on his website.
I meant I would have to read a book multiple times. Stupid phone…
I do the gray/grey thing often (just like colour/color). This was fun, thanks for sharing!
I am just now catching up on all the blog updates. I get the edits – I am experiencing this right now. Actually I am waiting for edits on my dissertation and binge eating reeses and then running extra to cope.
Linzi Day says
Absolutely fascinating – thank you so much for sharing <3
Yeah that sounds corny but as I head into my first round of edits it is heartfelt
Okay. This is so interesting–thank you for sharing–and now I’m thinking I am in the wrong career! The editor comments, especially the copyeditor, are exactly my thoughts when reading through books. I force myself to ignore grammatical issues, echoes, and inconsistencies between books in the series (and I mean all books, not Ilona Andrews in particular) because they are irrelevant by the time I’m reading the book for enjoyment. Very cool!
thank you for sharing! i did not know there were different types of editors. it makes sense that they’d focus on looking for different things like spelling/grammatical/punctuation corrections, or story inconsistencies, or better ways of phrasing something (like noticing that the word ‘exploding’ was also used in the previous sentence). i’m glad you have such helpful editors, and that you still get the final say.