Tuesday, November 13, 2018

You Too!?

With or without ewe?

I wasn’t going to discuss my ex-publisher.  Heavy emphasis on “ex”.

It was a brutal, horrible, no-good, very-bad two years of my life as an author, and I really didn’t want to revisit it.

Until . . .

Last week, I found a really interesting-funny-odd edit to the last edition of HELL BECOMES HER.  I was getting the manuscript ready to send to a new editor, and I came across a scene in which Del and Marrin are trying to get into a casino/night club:

“Hundred-dollar cover,” one of the bouncers said.
“Hundred what?” Del stammered. “Is that the going rate for tourists in the middle of nowhere?”
“Everyone pays the same,” the man replied.
“They all paid a hundred dollars to get inside?” Marrin asked and gestured to the small crowd that milled around the front of the casino. “Is U-Two serving drinks filled with gold nuggets from platinum mugs between sets with the Phil Collins and the Stones?”

Now, I’m human.  I make mistakes. That’s what editors are for!

It was entirely possible that I’d typed out “U-Two” in my submissions and it slipped through the various rounds of editing that the book has been through. Sometimes I get typing so fast that I’m not thinking of proper “spellink” or “grammar rulz”.

So, I went back to the previous version of the book that had been edited for the first release.

The error was not there.

SR-71—Where the streets have no names!
I went through the version that my ex-publisher’s (heavy emphasis on EX) assigned editor had completed.

The error was not there.

There was not a single iteration of the manuscript in which I’d made the change, or an editor had provided the change. This means that the change was made by my ex-publisher made changes without my acknowledgement.

This is the same woman who once told me about some marketing text: “I don't have to tell you I'm replacing it. And likely won’t.”

Yep, she said those exact words to me. I saved the conversation—and several others—for later reference.  So, I’m gonna take you back through some of the history, drama, and lessons learned, from that period of my life as an author.

Have any WTF moments have happened between you and a superior?  Tell me in the comments below!


  1. Several years ago I went to a book signing by RA Salvatore. I’m sure you know who that is, but for those that don’t he writes fantasy adventure novels in a D&D universe. At the time I think he was the most popular writer in the sub-genre, he may be still. He was much friendlier and down to earth than I expected, but someone in the audience asked him about an incident that clearly made him angry. Apparently during the publishing of Spine of the World his publisher changed the names of several new characters in the book without telling him. So when he went to a book signing, like the one I was at, people were asking him about characters in his book and he had no idea who they were talking about. This is an author who wrote several NYT best sellers and apparently had very little control over his work.

    1. That would indeed be incredibly frustrating. Authors put thought in to the names—sometimes a great deal of thought—and usually that's not something that the editors/publishers care too much about (unless the name is too close to a real person, or sounds odd, etc.). The same EX publisher wanted to change my character's name. Story to follow!

  2. I'm still shaking my head over the U-two. And she called me a "mediocre" editor.

    My ex agent insisted on replacing, using the term Shaman in my American Indian novels. Despite my telling him, no, it's not the right term. Once I got out of the contract with him, and saw the version he was shopping to publishers (as romance, the book is not romance) his editor had changed every instance of "medicine man" to "shaman".

    1. That's what pushed me over the edge. There were lots and lots of flags, but I ignored them. Hopefully, our experiences can help someone else!