Hi everyone, and thank you for tuning in to another episode of the We Make Books Podcast - A podcast about writing, publishing, and everything in between!
In this episode we are talking about a book we hope everyone writes one day: Your second book, the one you are going to work on under contract and with an editor. Writing while working with an editor is very different from when you were off on your own, they have things like opinions and deadlines and they’re going to want to hear what your plans are. But fear not, this isn’t scary, it’s awesome! And we’re going to talk about all the reasons it’s great to have someone to work with as well as what to expect from the process.
We Make Books is hosted by Rekka Jay and Kaelyn Considine; Rekka is a published author and Kaelyn is an editor and together they are going to take you through what goes into getting a book out of your head, on to paper, in to the hands of a publisher, and finally on to book store shelves.
We Make Books is a podcast for writer and publishers, by writers and publishers and we want to hear from our listeners! Hit us up on our social media, linked below, and send us your questions, comments, concerns, and let us know if you took part in NaNoWriMo and how it went!
We hope you enjoy We Make Books!
Rekka: 00:00 Welcome back to another episode of We Make Books, a podcast about writing, publishing and everything in between. I'm Rekka, I write science fiction and fantasy as RJ Theodore.
Kaelyn: 00:09 And I'm Kaelyn. I'm the acquisitions editor for Parvus Press.
Rekka: 00:12 This one is a Kaelyn episode mostly because Kaelyn is getting very excited about some work that she's going to be doing with her authors very soon.
Kaelyn: 00:22 Yeah.
Rekka: 00:22 And she's smiling so big right now because she's just just tickled and loves her author so much.
Kaelyn: 00:28 I do love my authors. They're all wonderful people. Um, but we're talking today about your second book and we don't mean your second standalone book. We mean what's coming in your series. Um, it's a very different process and a circumstance to write your second book under the direction of someone than it is your first one by yourself. And, um, I think this goes for both debut authors and people who are then just selling a new trilogy that have just been working something. Um, we keep um, you know, we mentioned at the end of the episode, uh, we'll qualify it here. We say trilogy a lot in this. Really it's any kind of a series.
Rekka: 01:13 Right, right. And when we say under the direction of someone else, you've obviously already revised something under the direction of one or two other people. But we're talking about ground up. You know there is, you are starting from scratch. You are starting from the blank page.
Kaelyn: 01:27 And there is somebody whose opinion now you have to take into account.
Rekka: 01:31 See you keep saying, I hope it didn't sound too scary. That's why it sounds so scary.
Kaelyn: 01:36 Because it's an intimidating thing, but we get into all that in this episode.
Rekka: 01:40 Um, yeah. So when she says your contract contractually obligated to take their opinion into account, she's like, yes, that's true.
Kaelyn: 01:49 Hey, I'm here for the truth. I'm telling it how it is.
Rekka: 01:52 But that's kind of why you got into publishing your book with a traditional publisher. You wanted a team behind your book. And so this is, this episode is all about writing your book after you've already sold, possibly published the first book in a series of indetermined length and doing it with a team of enthusiastic book people behind you.
Kaelyn: 02:17 Which is fun and exciting. But definitely very different from the first time you did this.
New Speaker: 02:21 So we'll get into that in this episode. So take a listen and here it comes.
Speaker 2: 02:40 [inaudible].
Rekka: 02:41 You notice I bought two of them.
Kaelyn: 02:43 Oh yeah. I thought this was the same one that was inside.
Rekka: 02:45 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 02:46 It's um, very uh, warm and soft.
Rekka: 02:50 And soft.
Kaelyn: 02:51 So soft and fuzzy.
Rekka: 02:52 Yes.
Kaelyn: 02:53 Cause you won't let me have one of the cats in here to keep me company.
Rekka: 02:56 I mean the blanket sheds less than the cats do.
Kaelyn: 02:59 Fair. So anyway, we're talking today about books and stuff about books, same as always. But, uh, actually we're talking about a specific book at this point.
Rekka: 03:10 Oh.
Kaelyn: 03:11 Not a specific book as in a specific title, but it is a specific book that hopefully you're going to write one day,
Rekka: 03:20 Hey, you know, maybe you might write a book someday and then maybe somebody wants to buy it and then they're like, Hey, is it a trilogy? And you go, of course it's a trilogy.
Kaelyn: 03:26 Of course.
Rekka: 03:27 Totally. It's totally, totally, totally a trilogy.
Kaelyn: 03:30 And uh, so then you have to write the second book
Rekka: 03:33 Now, okay. But backup, cause we actually already discussed outside of the recording that sometimes you've already got the second book written.
Kaelyn: 03:41 Sometimes you've already got the second book written. So we should back up to once upon a time a little bit here. Once upon a time there was an author who loved an idea so much that they wanted to keep writing about it. So they wrote a book and they sold that book. And then the person they sold the book to said you got any more of these? And they said, sure, do let me just figure out what's going to happen.
Rekka: 04:07 And um, in our, in our conversation, we did say that a lot of times by the time the first book has sold, if it's really intended to be a trilogy or more, the, the author has probably begun work in some form or another on the second book.
Kaelyn: 04:23 Yeah. So, um, you know, as we mentioned in the intro today, we're talking about writing your second book and we, this is different from our, what's coming next -
Rekka: 04:33 Right, cause what's coming next is the, that episode was about like, you being surprised by the question of what, what happens in a book that's not related to your trilogy. This is going back to the trilogy.
Kaelyn: 04:46 This is, there's a difference between what are you working on next and what's coming next. So we already did what are you working on next? But this is about, um, the difference between writing the first book of your trilogy and writing the second.
Rekka: 04:58 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 05:00 So now as Rekka said, um, there's a chance you may have already written it, you may not have, you may have a rough draft, you may have a pretty detailed outline there, any infinite number of versions that this book could exist in. Um, for our purposes here, we're starting by assuming that you sold a trilogy or maybe you even sold the first book and it's a potential trilogy contingent on sales and sales are good. So now they want the other two books.
Rekka: 05:29 Um, actually just to clarify that, if they're going to want the next book, they may have decided this before the book comes out and it's actually enthusiasm or excitement is high when they decide that they want the second book. So you may not actually have anyone who's gotten real eyes on the book other than some, um, advanced review copies. Yeah.
Kaelyn: 05:47 Um, and we're also assuming that when you sold the first book, it was already written, um, you gotta you gotta be at a special place in your career -
Rekka: 05:57 To sell a book on an outline -
Kaelyn: 05:58 To sell the first,
Rekka: 05:59 ... for your debut.
Kaelyn: 06:00 Yeah, yeah, exactly. So that's kind of our baseline where you're starting from and writing the second book is going to be very different than writing the first book because the first book you were functionally kind of doing on, on your own. Um, now of course you're probably involved in some writing groups. You had some beta readers, you had, people you talked to about this. Maybe you even had an editor you hired to, uh, to take a look at it. The thing is that when you're doing the second one, now you have a second party who is contractually obligated to be very interested in reading your book.
Rekka: 06:34 Yes. Not just whether it's good or not, but where the entire plot is going.
Kaelyn: 06:40 Yes. And you're not going to have an editor that doesn't care about the book period, but now you've got an editor that is very, very interested in this because you've got a story to tell that is not yet written.
Rekka: 06:57 And to be fair, if you've been picked up for a partially written trilogy, chances are you've already talked to your editor.
Kaelyn: 07:05 There is a very, there is a very good chance. And again, debut authors are not generally at a point in their career where publishing houses and editors are willing to just let them go. Yeah, sure. Let's see how it goes. So they're probably gonna want to talk to you beforehand, find out, um, you know, so I love these characters. I love the setting. I love when this story is going, what's going to happen?
Rekka: 07:24 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 07:25 Um, with the understanding that that could change as you work through things.
Rekka: 07:30 Absolutely.
Kaelyn: 07:31 Um, but you will probably have had that conversation. So how is this time going to be different?
Rekka: 07:39 One, you're on a deadline.
Kaelyn: 07:41 And that's a new and exciting thing and we talked about that in what you're working on next.
Rekka: 07:46 What are you working on next. But um, this one is a deadline in your contract, um, specifically.
Kaelyn: 07:52 Yeah, this one's like a deadline deadline.
Rekka: 07:54 You probably know when you sign your contract, when you need to have this one handed in by.
Kaelyn: 07:59 Yeah. Um, so you're going to be working on deadline and you're going to be working with someone who is giving you professional feedback. And I will just say this, that you're required to work with. Um, I don't mean like at most authors I know love their editors and look forward to working with them, but this is somebody that like, you can't just leave an opinion out in the writing group. You have to listen to this person's opinion and they're going to have opinions.
Rekka: 08:28 You might be able to debate them a little bit.
Kaelyn: 08:30 Definitely debate them. When I say listen to, I mean you have to take it into consideration. You may be able to debate them, you can discuss things, you can come to an understanding.
Rekka: 08:37 You can figure out like, okay, I was going this way and you want me to go way over here. What else can we do that we'll both like.
Kaelyn: 08:43 You can't ignore this person.
Rekka: 08:45 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 08:46 Um, and again, I can't really think of any authors off the top of my head who don't like wha -
Rekka: 08:55 I'm making faces at her. I do. I do know, because professionally speaking you are, you are on team editor so you probably not going to hear as many stories about authors who don't like their editors.
Kaelyn: 09:08 First of all, I'm on Team Author. That's my job as an editor, but -
Rekka: 09:12 Well played. No, but you know what I'm saying? Like socially, within the industry, you talk to other editors a lot.
Kaelyn: 09:22 That's true. The other thing is that, um, authors, I think because they know I'm an editor, are reticent to say anything about our breed in general/
Rekka: 09:27 Or because you aren't a close friend, they're not going to spill their emotional baggage on you about how their editor's running them through a pepper grinder on this, you know, their second book.
Kaelyn: 09:39 It's only because we want to enhance the flavor.
Rekka: 09:43 So fun fact pepper makes everything taste good because it opens up your pores and your taste more of it. Anyway, back to what we were saying. Um, your editor wants to open up people's tongues, uh, pores. Uh, yeah. Okay. No, but what I am trying to say is that I do personally know authors who are having a grueling time working on their second book with the editor of their publishing house.
Kaelyn: 10:06 Out of curiosity, is it a grueling time because it's a lot, or is it because they don't like their editor?
Rekka: 10:12 It's a grueling time because the editor keeps checking their outlines back at them and saying, no, not that do something else.
Kaelyn: 10:18 So here you go. Somebody who's going to have opinions. Now, it's interesting what you said outline. Every editor works differently, but a lot of times when you're working on subsequent books in, uh, the tr, you know, a trilogy or a series, what have you, you're going to start with an outline, agree on that and how detailed it is will depend on the editor of the book, the, you know, how intricate the things are that you need to pay attention to. Um, and then you're just going to kind of be sent along on your way, you know. Okay, go write that. Um, you know, like we said at Parvus, I'm a little more involved in the actual day to day writing portions of this, but the whole point is you're going to have to take someone else's opinion into account before you sit down to write what it is you're going to be writing.
Rekka: 11:11 I think that is a lot more enticing for many authors than you might imagine.
Kaelyn: 11:17 Well, it sounds nice until you're actually doing it.
Rekka: 11:20 I'll let this one slide, we'll bring it back later.
Kaelyn: 11:24 Okay, look your editor is your partner in this. They're going to want to help you make this the best book it can possibly be. So every relationship, every dynamic is different. But um, you know, maybe you're excited about having another opinion to bounce things off of. I do know some people that just want to be left alone to write their book as they want to write it. And it's a little bit of a rude awakening going like, no, here's this person that you have to talk to about all of this now.
Rekka: 11:56 So I break the mold in this sense because I had an entire first draft of my second book before I signed with um, Parvus on book one because as we've covered before, I plan to self publish this. And so what I was planning to do was write all three before I even released the first one so that I could release them close together, get some, you know, dopamine rush from Amazon's algorithm playing into all that. So I, I had gotten a lot further in this then I think is being proposed here as the typical experience.
Kaelyn: 12:28 Yeah, and it's interesting because at Parvus we have a few standalone books, some that are turning into trilogies and then some things that we bought at trilogies. So uh Scott Warren's the Union Earth Privateers trilogy, which was the first book we ever got, Vick's Vultures, fantastic book. Definitely check it out. And then he was signed up for trilogy. Now I will say that I did not, I have not really done any work on Scott's books. Um, but he had a plan of where this was going. That was discussed when we said, okay, trilogy. But that was really the only one that we kind of worked on where the author didn't really have much on paper beforehand. Rekka as you just said, uh, you know, had a draft of her second book and knew where the third book was going. Um, you know, things have changed roughly.
Rekka: 13:25 Very roughly.
Kaelyn: 13:35 But you did know some people like I, I am surprised sometimes when I talk to people and they're like, I don't know, I'll figure it out. And we were joking about this before we started recording because I'm such a planner and a plotter. So like the idea of not knowing how your story ends is like has me like clutching my pearls and gasping and um, but then Christopher Ruz, who's uh Century of Sand Rrilogy, the first book, The Ragged Blade also did an episode and interview episode on this go back. That was episode six, I believe. Um, let me go back and check it out. Really cool about traditionally publishing something that was previously self-published. So that meant that he had books one and two completed already and three like a pretty finished draft. Ruz now in a position, and you were as well, I'm sure where the trickle down changes from the stuff in the first book now have to be addressed in the second book if it's written.
Rekka: 14:24 You're referring to the editorial changes that came back from the publisher.
Kaelyn: 14:27 Exactly.
Rekka: 14:27 Yeah. So I had the advantage of, uh, Colin Coyle kind of gave me some feedback. Uh, Parvus's publisher, uh, kind of gave me some feedback at the beginning of the process that wasn't officially from my editor, but it was something that he brought in and, and those were actually the biggest changes of the, of the process. And, um, he said something that made me realize that he'd misread a scene like the way I intended. It was not the way I came across, which is a good bit of feedback to have. And so by going into fix what he saw, I fixed it for one. Yay. Um, but also I gave myself a little bit of something that has come in extremely, extremely plot devices for the following books and I don't know what book to would have looked like if I hadn't put that in there just to fix a scene so that it was read correctly and now all of a sudden it became a major element. And so that was beneficial to me because it actually tightened things up for me going forward. On the other hand -
Kaelyn: 15:39 Yeah, we've been slowly unraveling, um, everything that, uh, that he's been doing. Um, again, I, this is, you know, Episode Six is about traditionally publishing a previously self published book, but there is a lot of talk in it about the changes that we made him go in there and make. And that was just the first book. Um, so the ripple effect out through the second and third is massive. I shouldn't say ripple. We're dealing with small tsunami type things at this point. And he's, don't get me wrong, he's handling it like a champ. But like, it's not that the changes are bad or even difficult, it's that it's a lot to go back and make sure you catch everything.
Rekka: 16:26 In the continuity of something that you already know
Kaelyn: 16:29 And account for everything. And this is why, um, going into our next point here, I very much like when I'm starting with an author to know where the book is going. You know, I had said like, I am, I am a plotter, I am a planner. Um, I have a rule with the authors I work with. You have to tell me how it ends.
Rekka: 16:50 Wheras just for contrast. Um, Ryan Kelly is my editor at Parvus at the moment. And, uh, I asked him if he wanted to see the outline for book three because we had not talked about where it was going. And he's like, yeah, you could send it over. Where's Caitlin would have been like, what? It exists. Why don't I have it?
Kaelyn: 17:02 Why don't I have this right now? No, I mean, you wouldn't even send me an outline. I'd be on the phone with you going like, okay, but just tell me what happens. Part of that is because, you know, we buy stories that we love and I am very impatient. Um, I really always just need to know how something ends. Um, so part of it is just a personal, like, I need to know what happens here!
Rekka: 17:25 Kaelyn loves spoilers.
Kaelyn: 17:26 I don't actually stay far away from spoilers.
Rekka: 17:29 Well, as you've said, you didn't want to know how my trilogy ends because you want to experience it as the reader.
Kaelyn: 17:35 Exactly. Um, but as an editor, as an editor, I know certain books are going to need things seeded in the beginning of it. So I kind of want to know how everything's going to make sure that it fly off the rails at the end or we're dropping in something that came out of nowhere that readers are going to go, well hang on a second.
Rekka: 17:56 So you bring up a really good point because these are the kinds of things that your editor can point out, um, about structure, about. Like you need to Chekov this rifle. You know, like you need to make sure that people feel satisfied by this even if they weren't expecting it, that it's grounded in the reality of your world building or your plot or whatever, or things you've introduced,.
Kaelyn: 18:29 A, a twist ending or a big reveal as only as good as you've set it up to be.
Rekka: 18:29 Right.
Kaelyn: 18:29 Like it needs to feel surprising, yet inevitable readers should be able to go back -
Rekka: 18:36 And see all the clues,
Kaelyn: 18:37 And find points where they're like, Oh, okay, I got it.
Rekka: 18:40 So like for example, the movie Memento.
Kaelyn: 18:42 Yes.
Rekka: 18:43 That is one where you watch it the second time you're like, damn, this was all in here.
Kaelyn: 18:48 If you want to take it even further Fight Club that is, you know, the weirdness of that movie aside despite the groups that have co-opted it's uh =.
Rekka: 18:57 Okay. So yeah.
Kaelyn: 18:59 It's still a great movie. Um, but the book even too, and you know, obviously they had to do things very different in the book in the movie, but you go back and watch that and you're like, yeah, no, okay, I see it now. Um, so depending on the nature of your book and depending on where it's going, that's something your editor is going to be very interested in.
Rekka: 19:18 But not only that, but as I was starting to say, as an author, you really should want someone who's, who's got that second pair of, you know, critical eyes, um, figureative eyes to put it on your story and say like, Oh, that's what you're doing with this. Well here's what I suggest before we put out book too. Cause like book one's already, you know, pretty much signed, sealed and delivered to this man. If you haven't got it seeded book two before it gets published while you're in revisions for that is a great place to seed those elements that are going to make it more satisfying when you bring it in for the landing on number three. So your editor's going to say, Oh, that's where you're going. Well what if we do this? You don't want someone who isn't paying attention to where the story's going because they might guide you into a corner that you can't get to that ending anymore.
Kaelyn: 20:05 Yeah, and this is one of those, uh, you know, writers I think a lot of times fall into the problem, which is a totally understandable problem of can't see the forest through the trees. Having an outside perspective where sometimes editors are picking out parts of the book that are more important than the writer realizes they are. Um, you know, I always say like your favorite part of the book might not be the best part of the book.
Rekka: 20:35 Your favorite part of the book is probably a turn of phrase or a certain scene and emotional feelings.
Kaelyn: 20:40 I am, I thought, I always ask authors, especially like, you know, when they're, the books published or something or you know, okay, we've got the final draft, you're done. What's your favorite part of the book? Every single time I've been surprised.
Rekka: 20:53 Really.
Kaelyn: 20:53 Um, just because it's a personal thing and there maybe, you know, it might even have something to do with what was going on with you when you were writing it, but the whole point is that you're, you know, a detailed outline that you're providing to an editor is going to allow them to look at this with a bigger perspective of what is happening in this, what is happening in the characters, what the growing themes in the book are and where the setting and the plot is headed. And that is something that a lot of times now trilogies are being bought in such a way that the first book is sold and then the second and third, not always, but you know, they may buy all three at once or they could say second and thirds contingent upon, you know, what's going on with the first. So listeners, I'm sure you'll notice that with a lot of trilogies, and by the way, YA especially does this a lot. The first book kind of wraps up to a point. There are definitely lingering things. There's plots to build off of stories, problems to resolve, but the first book kind of wraps up and then two and three seems to completely take on a new life of its own. Um, again, very, very common in YA.
Rekka: 22:11 And that's because you don't know if that's going to be it.
Kaelyn: 22:14 Yeah, exactly. Um, so getting an outline with this stuff, um, things could change very much after, after book one, but the outline and the perspective that it's going to give the editor is really important to help the writer get through this process and get to the, I don't want to say satisfying because that implies a happy ending.
Rekka: 22:38 There's a difference between like, inevitable conclusion, you know, like not feeling like you spent all your credit in the first book.
Kaelyn: 22:49 Exactly. Yeah. Um, one of the examples I always give with this is, um, Cassandra Claire, do you know who she is?
Rekka: 22:59 The Mortal Instruments?
Kaelyn: 23:00 Yeah. Um, which that must of, that first book must have been published coming up on 20 years ago, which is so strange to think it's that old it is. But she was kind of one of the pioneers of what we now call urban fantasy. Um, like I remember being a teenager and picking up that book as someone gave it to me and was like, you have to read this. And I actually remember looking at this going, this is set in a city that's boring. That's not how this kind of stuff should go. And so anyway, you know, this was saying this to qualify that like this was kind of a new thing they were trying to figure out. But, um, then reading an interview with her that she did, um, explaining that she had to give them an incredibly detailed outline of where all of these books were going. And this is, you know, I don't know if anyone listening has read these, but the last book is full of twists, turns, reveals, shocking identities, you know, and so they wanted to see, okay, where's the groundwork that you're laying for this to get to this ending?
Rekka: 24:13 And especially for the publisher, if this book is supposed to put that genre on the map, they need to make sure that this is the standard that people are going to hold it.
Kaelyn: 24:21 Yeah, there were, if I'd be very interested to see if anyone kind of like has ever sat down and figured this out. I'm sure someone has. But there were a bunch of urban fantasy things that all came out around that same time. And I would argue that of that initial like group of releases, hers was far too, she's still writing these, um, they just keep giving her contracts to write trilogies in, in this world. And like now she is to the point where she can just go, I don't know, I guess one about this character? Excellent here, have some money.
Rekka: 24:52 Um, life goals.
Kaelyn: 24:54 Yeah. Yeah. But um, well, I mean she had like a movie, a television series, you know, they were not great.
Rekka: 25:02 Well, I have often said that my dream film result for anything I write would be that the film is optioned, the option is renewed and renewed and renewed. It never happened and it's tied up in options and I keep getting paid for it and nobody ever touches it and makes people mad about it.
Kaelyn: 25:23 I always joke that like, you know, if I ever wrote a book or like even if they were like going to, you know, some part of this book got a option for a movie and they'd be like, we want to do this. My answer would be cool. Uh, I'm going to go to film school, I'll come back, I'll come back to you in three or four years because I'm in charge of this. I don't trust you.
Rekka: 25:45 I've had conversations with Kaelyn, um, outside of recording these podcasts and this is so 100% true.
Kaelyn: 25:53 I don't trust you to do this the right way.
Rekka: 25:56 And look, the thing is you're not wrong.
Kaelyn: 25:58 That's the thing.
Rekka: 25:59 Track record is more 90% likely that this series is not going to be handled carefully or correct.
Kaelyn: 26:05 Well, I will say, and just a funny little side story, um, Necropolis PD, I gave my cousins and my aunt copies of this book and they were like, I could see this as, you know, this movie. And they're already casting it and listening to them cast it is infuriating me because they're casting all of these young, very handsome, you know, debonair men for the character of Jacob Green. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, go read Necropolis PD it's a fantastic book.
Rekka: 26:34 Do go read it.
Kaelyn: 26:35 Um, and I'm already fighting with them going, no, it's not. No, that's not what he's supposed to look like. That's not, he's supposed to act. So yes. Um, no one touches these books except us. Anyway, so your editor is going to be far more involved in the structure of the book then they were the first time around when you were working on this by yourself.
Rekka: 27:03 Because I promise you this is a very good thing.
Kaelyn: 27:03 Yeah,
Rekka: 27:07 I really think it is. I mean like yes, you're going to have your outlying cases where like this is not the, the system that works best for you. But I think many authors I can speak for are always wondering if they're doing the right thing for their series. Are they taking it in the right direction? And this is a checks and balance.
Kaelyn: 27:24 This person is legally obligated to talk to you about this.
Rekka: 27:27 And it matters to me so much that my trilogy stick the landing.
Kaelyn: 27:33 Yeah.
Rekka: 27:33 Cause I mean my experience with so many books series is, well one you of course have the ones that get canceled before they're finished, which is horrible. Um, but two you have the ones that it feels like the author just kind of ran out of ideas or didn't have a clear plan and they kept setting up fantastic, wonderful world-building and situations and politics but didn't know how to resolve the situation.
Kaelyn: 27:55 *cough* Game of Thrones.
Rekka: 27:58 Yeah, sorry. Something in our throats. But it matters to me so much and I want somebody else's opinion on this.
Kaelyn: 28:08 Yeah and I mean this is generally, you know, we've talked before about like working with an editor. You can go back and listen to our episode Will My Editor Tells Me It's Shit? And um.
Rekka: 28:18 You guys love your books and you just want to talk to people about them, but you also want to be sure that you're handling them well.
Kaelyn: 28:24 Am I doing it right?
Rekka: 28:25 Am I doing this right?
Kaelyn: 28:27 Here's the thing.
Rekka: 28:28 Yeah. I mean, go ahead.
Kaelyn: 28:30 There's no right.
Rekka: 28:31 Yup.
Kaelyn: 28:31 Because you've got to be the one to decide what's right for your book.
Rekka: 28:34 Okay. So this is not me saying, dear editor, how do I finish this?
Kaelyn: 28:39 Yes.
Rekka: 28:39 This is like, okay, here's what I'm seeing.
Kaelyn: 28:41 Yep.
Rekka: 28:42 Does this satisfy the arc that's been set up across the series so far?
Kaelyn: 28:46 Do you feel like as a reader of this rather than a creator of it, that you think this came to a good, satisfying, logical ending and they're going to point to spots and say, well this feels like it might be a little thin here or this feels like a jump or this doesn't seem in keeping with the character, that's what they're supposed to do.
Rekka: 29:05 And you get those things before this. And this is the point of this whole episode. You get these things before you've invested two years in polishing a manuscript.
Kaelyn: 29:13 From, you know, the editor side of things. Um, I try to be sensitive and aware of the fact that this person who was working on this before had pretty free reign to do what they wanted with it. Now granted, I probably did take it and make them -
Rekka: 29:31 Right. And that's.
Kaelyn: 29:31 And make them do some stuff and that's the baby step into, into the end of the pool. Um, but I personally, and I think most editors will do this, you know, is the, the check in, how are you doing? How are you feeling about this? Anything bothering you? Is there parts that you want us to work on or pay attention to more? Are there any parts that you don't feel great? Are there parts that you really feel great about? And then those are the ones I make them go change.
Rekka: 29:59 Yeah. Well, and that's the thing. It's like every conversation when you get revisions back from your editor, you're like, yeah, I knew that part wasn't quite right.
Kaelyn: 30:09 Very rarely do I get, um, you know,
Rekka: 30:11 Shock and surprise.
Kaelyn: 30:14 Of like no, that was perfect.
Rekka: 30:14 That's exactly how I pictured it.
Kaelyn: 30:16 Yeah. Um, very rarely. Um, writers I think don't give themselves enough credit a lot of times for how aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their own books they are.
Rekka: 30:26 Well, so often I go to my editor because I've gotten to the point where I know something's funky about it, but I don't know where the smell is coming from.
Kaelyn: 30:34 Every time I get a draft back from Ruz, the note in the draft is something like that. Just take it.
Rekka: 30:39 I never want to look at this again.
Kaelyn: 30:42 Um, yeah, exactly.
Rekka: 30:44 Sorry. I thought it was talking about myself. Um,
Kaelyn: 30:47 Oh, so that's not just him. That's all of you.
Rekka: 30:49 All of us. Well that's what I'm saying. You know, like, yes, we, we know something is wrong, but the, when the relief we feel when the editor pinpoints, the thing that we couldn't see is amazing. The editor's job is to wipe the petroleum off the lens so you can see in sharper detail like where the work needs to happen.
Kaelyn: 31:11 Yeah. And bringing it back around is that okay when you're doing a second, third X number book, especially within the same, um, you know, at the same trilogy or just in the set, in the same world with maybe the same characters. Um, the editor is going to be involved a lot more from the beginning. Now, you know, as Rekka says a lot of times that's exciting and that's a good thing to have. Um, but I would like to point out that this is somebody now who, I was joking before, you're legally obligated to take their opinions into account, but you're legally obligated to take their opinions into account. Because here's the thing, if I guarantee you in your contract, there is a clause that says we're not publishing this if we're not happy with it.
Rekka: 31:58 Right. I mean, okay -
Kaelyn: 31:59 Acceptance of the manuscript is, is a big, it's a short clause that it's got big implications.
Rekka: 32:09 Yeah.
Kaelyn: 32:09 And you know, I'm not trying to say this to scare anyone, like, well, if I don't do exactly what they say, they're going to cancel my contract. It's not that. And if you're working with somebody who would do that, you probably don't want to be publishing with them, but you have to take into account that yes, your editor is your editor and they're on the creative side rather than the business side of this. But at the end of the day, there's probably a sales and marketing team behind them that is saying, look, for the sake of argument, let's pretend that you know, the book has already come out your first book. And they're saying it's sold to really well in this demographic. Um, the feedback we're getting, people really like this part.
Rekka: 32:55 All of our five stars come from this genre reader.
Kaelyn: 32:58 Exactly. They're not going to make you rewrite everything based upon that. But that is absolutely something that will be taken into account. So if they're saying, look your books -
Rekka: 33:10 If you lean away from that group of readers.
Kaelyn: 33:13 Maybe your book was borderline YA and the YA community just pounced all over it and this became, you know, a runaway success within that group. But then book two is taking a really hard left.
Rekka: 33:27 Or it takes place 20 years later and they're no longer any youths to be.
Kaelyn: 33:32 Yeah, actually that's interesting. You'd probably get around that. Say this is the thing, if you pose these things to me, I'm going to try and come up with solutions for them. Um, but it's taking a really hard left into something that is not going to appeal At all to the large readership of the first book. That's going to be a conversation.
Rekka: 33:48 Right. I mean, so I always read that clause more as you phone in the manuscript. We are not going to print it, which is -
Kaelyn: 33:59 Yes, that's an obvious implication. But there is that second layer of -
Rekka: 34:02 Where you saw this going is not where -
Kaelyn: 34:04 We're not sure we can get anyone to read this. Um, you know, if you are writing a book about, this is the thing, anything I say here, I'm going to put ideas in Rekka's head.
Rekka: 34:17 Either that or you're looking around to my studio and you're going to get ideas and you're just going to end up describing one of my stories that I've already written.
Kaelyn: 34:26 There's a lot of figurines around here I can. So if we, you know, if you're writing a book about like super powered, uh, teenagers, you know, trying living in their secret hideaway and trying to find out, you know, trying to gain contact with the aliens who made them this way or what have you. And uh, you know, we end on a, we've made contact with them. Let's see what happens. And then in the second book it turns out it's not aliens, it's Godzilla, but like actually Godzilla and like no aliens and it's, your editor is going to look at that and go, this is not what your first story was about and this is a trilogy.
Rekka: 35:08 And this is not what your first story was setting up because each story is like, you know, your first sentence or into your first paragraph, your first book is going to earn you the readers for the second book. In fact, those are going to be, you know, the readers who care the most about what happens in book two because they've already read book one.
Kaelyn: 35:24 And I think we kind of, you know, we want to give writer,s creators for that matter as much autonomy to, create the way that they see things going. Um, you know, you'll see on Twitter all the time like, and it's correct that authors are not obligated to readers. They are not there to write what you want them to write.
Rekka: 35:53 It's not fan service.
Kaelyn: 35:54 Exactly. I agree with all of that. But I will say that people who have invested time, money and emotional mental energy in your book deserve to not then be kicked in the ass.
Rekka: 36:11 So like if you're having an idea that's so far off the board from what you set up in your first book, just save that for the next series, you know?
Kaelyn: 36:20 Or you know, I'm going to talk to you, your editor about it. I guess if there's like, if it's, if you planned that all along and you've, you know -
Rekka: 36:25 And this is another thing, it's like if you know where that was going, if you planned it all along, make sure they know that before book one revisions are done because maybe they can help you set that up so it won't surprise and ass kick anybody.
Kaelyn: 36:37 But again, you've probably already talked to your editor about this. And so again, this is where the accepted manuscript clause comes into play. Depending on how detailed you got and depending on you know, what their plan was for you and your book and your marketing and stuff. There may actually be specific things written into the contract about the book, which I know sounds like such a crazy micromanaging type thing to do
Rekka: 37:02 But it's, it shows the more detail that you know about the series when you're signing the contract, the more detail will appear in the contract. You know, like if you don't know what, if you don't know that it's going to be a trilogy for sure, but they want your second book, they're going to say in an unnamed science fiction novel of no less than a hundred thousand words or whatever. But if they know that it's going to be the sequel, then it's a sequel set in the same world.
Kaelyn: 37:28 Or yeah, they will put in their set in the same, you know, whatever legal words they're going to use. But world of the first book of this with the same characters with the same, you know, basically what they're doing is they're telling you we want more of this,
Rekka: 37:41 We want more of exactly this. Um, don't pull a fast one on us.
Kaelyn: 37:46 So if you come back with something that is completely not that they will, they're probably won't accept the manuscript.
Rekka: 37:52 Well, they can just point to the contract and look, look, that's not what we bought.
Kaelyn: 37:56 Yeah. It's not meant to be scary. I'm not trying to like freak anyone out by, uh, by saying this, you know, it's just something to keep in mind.
Rekka: 38:01 And in fact, she really doesn't mean for this to be scary because the whole point of this episode is, Hey, you get to work with a buddy, you have a safety system.
Kaelyn: 38:10 Exactly.
Rekka: 38:10 And this, and somebody that you can just go, okay, I wrote this chapter. I can't tell if I'm hitting it, you know, and just like you can get a response back within a reasonable timeframe and it says, yeah, no, this is great. Keep going. And like who gives a thumbs up every now and then, like on demand is really awesome.
Kaelyn: 38:28 Good job.
Rekka: 38:29 And also correction, you know, like path correction. If you aren't really, you know, if if feel weak about it, is it nerves or is it really bad and your editor can tell you.
Kaelyn: 38:40 Yup. So, um,
Rekka: 38:42 Okay, but that okay, but here's the one thing that's weird about this whole process. Your editor before has seen you at your best. You're polishing the script now. Now you are, you are going to show them the piles of dirty laundry on the floor of your bedroom.
Kaelyn: 38:55 No, no one is surprised by the curtain being pulled back.
Rekka: 38:59 But it's different.
Kaelyn: 38:59 It's different. Yes. Um,
Rekka: 39:01 I definitely know that. I don't make my sentences, you know, they're not the final sentences in the first draft.
Kaelyn: 39:08 Yeah. Um, no one is surprised by the current being pulled back here. That's not, you know, anything that is going to shock and horrify your editors. Anytime you get a draft back, there's going to be an understanding of how rough it is. You know, like if it's like, look, there are sentence fragments in here. There are parts where I trailed off and started drawing in pictures of the pizza I was going to eat after this.
Rekka: 39:29 There's pizza inside.
Kaelyn: 39:31 So there's expectations there. There's realistically adjusted perceptions
Rekka: 39:37 But it is weird too, to feel like you were on your best behavior and now suddenly like this is, this is you with it all hanging out. And not only that, but like you're coming to them with a little bit of like, Oh, I don't know, like I need help with this. Like not only like did you pretend to have it all together and know where the series was going when you sign the contract. Um, now like they're seeing it at its scrappiest and, and you are asking for like, what should I do next with this?
Kaelyn: 40:05 Yeah, yeah.
Rekka: 40:06 But conversations you have are going to be so exciting and ideas thrown back and forth and all that kind of like, they want this to be the best.
Kaelyn: 40:14 I mean, my favorite part of editing books is, is the plot. Um, you know,
Rekka: 40:19 So that's good for people who need help with the plot.
Kaelyn: 40:22 Yeah. Yeah. That's, um, my absolute favorite thing is I'll ask Ruz if maybe it's okay if I put a picture online of like one of the things that I sent him, but um, it's like I love just getting a piece of paper sitting down, writing out this happens, this happens drawing arrows and circles and dots and you know, paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence in court against us. But I love doing that and I end up with some truly bonkers looking pieces of paper but it's, it's so much fun. Rekka is far more organized. She has post-its and,
Rekka: 40:57 Thumbtacks and index cards.
Kaelyn: 40:57 Spreadsheets, and color-coded index cards.
Rekka: 41:02 So this does make me feel like we should add the caveat of you are working directly with a lot of unagented authors.
Kaelyn: 41:13 Yes, yes we are. Parvus has a lot of unagented authors. If you have an agent, however you're going to be working with them a lot.
Rekka: 41:22 Yeah. This, this might be a process while you are on submission with the first book, which again, same, same issue where the editor at the publisher may cause some the catastrophic ripples. But you can still work with a buddy and you might even get the buddy system in a little bit earlier in the process.
Kaelyn: 41:42 Yeah, agents over the last few years, I would say probably, especially within the last decade, but before that as well have really taken on much more of an editorial role.
Rekka: 41:53 And not all of them still not like there are plenty that are pretty hands off once you've sold the property.
Kaelyn: 41:58 But um, you know, it's very normal before, you know, when an agent takes you on as a client and you decide what they're going to try and sell for you, it's very normal for them to give editorial suggestions and direction.
Rekka: 42:11 When we talk to Caitlin McDonald, she said that she will probably go over a story at least twice.
Kaelyn: 42:16 Yeah, exactly. And um, you know, depending on the agent, how polished it's going to be when, you know, they try to sell. It probably depends partially on who they're trying to sell it to and um, what editors, they know, how they work and what they're going to be looking for. But for your other books, again, it depends, varies agent to agent.
Rekka: 42:36 I know authors whose agents will definitely be editorial for the book that goes on submission. But after that they don't want to steer the, uh, the author and the incorrect direction when the editor might come back and, and -
Kaelyn: 42:49 Yeah, they'll kind of go, well that's you and your editor. That's, you know, what your -
Rekka: 42:52 You can copy me on big conversations.
Kaelyn: 42:54 Exactly. Yeah. You know, again, it depends so much of this, this industry is so subjective depending on how the person works.
Rekka: 43:00 Because there's every person in the mix as a different ingredients and you don't come up with the same, I mean, no book is, you know, direct copy of another.
Kaelyn: 43:09 From my perspective, every author is different.
Rekka: 43:12 Right. Well that's what I'm trying to say is that each author, each editor, each agent are different personalities with different preferences. And by combining those things, you get a chemical reaction that results in a different kind of book than it would with different ingredients and different people.
Kaelyn: 43:26 Yeah. No, and I've mentioned this in previous episodes where we've talked about editorial kind of stuff. And I will say, as I said before, this is me, I can be pretty flexible with how I work. So I try to work with how things work best for the author. If they want to talk to me a lot about this kind of stuff, I am thrilled and over the moon to talk to them. If they really just kind of want to go off into their corner, work on it and come back to me when they have something, that's fine too. Um, you know, I will, they do have to tell me how it is.
Rekka: 43:59 Well, yeah. So suppose you, Before they start writing this draft, they've probably already talked to you about the outline.
Kaelyn: 44:04 Well that what I mena, and even with the outline, if they want to go into the, you know, go off into their corner, figure out how they do and then come back to me with it. Um, or if they want to talk once every couple of weeks or you know, text me about, that's fine too. I as the editor try to be a little more flexible. I know not everyone does that. I think they try to, if they can, they'll make any reasonable accommodations. Um,
Rekka: 44:28 Reasonable accommodations. Like we said, this is, you know, professional situations, still would, it shouldn't devolve into unprofessional like demands on the either side.
Kaelyn: 44:32 Oh yeah, yeah, exactly. Um, but anyway, the whole point is that, you know, everyone works differently. If I can help accommodate someone to, so that I can get the best possible book out of them. Of course I'm going to do that.
Rekka: 44:53 Yeah.
New Speaker: 44:54 On that note, uh, one of the things a good editor knows how to do is cut things off when they're taking too long. So, uh, we've been talking for a bit and I think we've said, I think we covered everything we need to.
Rekka: 45:04 A couple of chapters that are coming out.
Kaelyn: 45:05 Yeah. Yeah. We'll, we'll do some editing of our own.
Rekka: 45:08 We'll blend that, that information into the rest of it.
Kaelyn: 45:11 Yeah. So, um, you know, that was a kind of just talking about the difference between writing your second book in a trilogy first your first and we just, we keep saying trilogy just because -
Rekka: 45:20 So what we're really referring to is writing a book under the direct supervision of the editor rather than writing a book you hope an editor will buy.
Kaelyn: 45:29 Um, we just keep saying trilogy because it's so industry standard at this point.
Rekka: 45:33 It is pretty typical. Although, you know, like not always, a lot of really successful stuff become long running series.
Kaelyn: 45:39 Yeah and um, I don't know if you've noticed this, but um, again, especially in YA, I'm noticing it's quadrilogies, now we've moved away where, we're upping the stakes here.
Rekka: 45:50 Well, I think you see this a lot in um, you know, film and TV also if something's working, give us more of it to sell it to the crowd that already loves it because they're going to show up for it. And it's like, it's very business, salesy minded, but like, hey.
Kaelyn: 46:08 Don't you want to sell books?
Rekka: 46:09 I mean, think of the, it's not new. Think of the Foreigner Series by CJ Cherry, you know, like this long running series. Nobody says no to them if they're selling, right? So if you've got a built in audience, then you could probably talk your publisher and do a few more series
Kaelyn: 46:25 There are series that will go until the author decides time to stop.
Rekka: 46:29 Or they die.
Kaelyn: 46:30 Or they die.
Rekka: 46:30 Then they bring in a second author to work on that series and keep working on it until they say stop.
New Speaker: 46:36 es. So, um, anyway, so that was, you know, about working with an editor verse working on your own. Um, hopefully that didn't completely, hopefully that came off not scary.
Rekka: 46:50 See, like I said, I see a lot of hope in and um, this is a collaboration now.
Kaelyn: 46:56 Yeah, definitely.
Rekka: 46:57 You know, so I see a lot of hope in that. It's a very lonely thing to write a book. It's a very lonely thing to write a book. You don't know if anyone will like. So when you can have someone saying, you know, this is working, this is working or you know what, it would be working if we did address this and your editor is not going to write the book for you. So it's not taking away your autonomy. Is it not taking away your creative control, it's just going to steer you towards success both story-wise and hopefully like, you know, sales wise because again, you're both in this because you hope the book will sell in a way that has a return
Kaelyn: 47:30 Yeah, exactly. So, um, thank you so much everyone for listening. Um, as always, you can find us online.
Rekka: 47:38 Yup. We are @WMBcast on Twitter and Instagram. Send us your questions there. You can post them straight onto our wall if you are happy to have those questions, you know, identified under your name. If you are asking a question anonymously, you can DMS on Twitter. They are wide open. So uh, come on in and ask us your publishing, writing and everything in between questions and we'll address them in future episodes. We'll either, if they're a big topic, we can, um, you know, pick those out and do entire episodes or we can -
Kaelyn: 48:09 We are open to suggestions.
Rekka: 48:10 Yeah. And we, yeah, definitely. But we can also do like a listener questions episode again. We've done one of those after Submissions September.
Kaelyn: 48:16 Maybe we'll wrap up the year with that.
Rekka: 48:18 Yeah. Maybe a 2019 listener questions a year end review kind of thing. Yes. Um, yeah. So send us your questions. We need them now that we've announced that player in that and you can find us at patreon.com/WMBcast and your support would be greatly appreciated to help us run this podcast and the quality to which you have become accustomed. We appreciate you listening and we especially appreciate folks who leave reviews on Apple podcasts and they've finally decided it's called Apple podcasts.
Kaelyn: 48:48 That was, that took a while to.
Rekka: 48:50 That did take a while, well they waited for the Apple like, um, event in September and we were waiting to find out what that was going to be. So thank you again for listening and we will talk to you again in two weeks.