Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Conversation with Carla Dean, The Editors Edition

Editing is an extremely important aspect in novel writing. It cleans the story up, brings clarity and also helps it flow. Editing ensures the story you are trying to tell is at its best, and portrays a strong appearance. However there are times when people wonder where they can find an editor, so today, My Urban Books introduces you to Carla Dean, an editor everyone should know.

My Urban Books: Why should authors care about good editing just as much as they should care about having a good storyline?

Carla Dean: If authors expect readers to invest in them by purchasing their book, the author should first be willing to invest in their work by hiring a professional editor. The reader should find reading the author’s book to be a pleasurable experience, not one that gives them a headache because of numerous typos, inconsistencies, and other issues that could have been resolved had the author not skipped the step of having their manuscript professionally edited.

My Urban Books: Besides making a manuscript stronger and legible, why is having it edited important?

Carla Dean: Depending on the type of editing performed, it can help to make the author’s story more believable and not far-fetched, even if the story is a work of fiction. For example, during developmental editing, the editor will do some fact checking and ensure the timeline is correct. In one manuscript that I edited, the author used the title of a movie that hadn’t been released during the time period the story took place. Good catch on my part. You’ll be surprised at how many readers pick up on those things. Having a manuscript edited will prove to the readers that you care about providing them with the best story possible and are not just concerned with making a quick dollar. In my opinion, investing in the editing of your work separates those who are serious about their writing from those who are just doing it as a hobby. And for those who may argue that editing is too expensive, many editors, including myself, offer payment arrangements. It’s best to wait until you can put out your best work than rush to put out a book that will be frowned upon. Once that negative review is out there, you can’t take it back.

My Urban Books: How long have you been an editor? How did you get your start in the business?

Carla Dean: I’ve been editing for over fourteen years. My start came when an author by the name of Michelle McGriff responded to my post on the RawSistaz’s forum. At the time, I was looking to review books since I had a love for reading. However, Michelle was in search of an editor for a few manuscripts she had written. She gave me a chance to prove my skills and here I am today…still doing what I love and so much more in the literary industry, such as publishing authors under my company Artistic Words Publishing.

My Urban Books: Editing can be a repetitive job, how do you keep yourself doing the job correctly and giving it your all?

Carla Dean: With each manuscript, I treat it as if it was my first assignment and I have something to prove. When you have that type of attitude, you’ll always want to do your best. 

My Urban Books: When taking on a client what are some of things you make them aware of automatically?

Carla Dean: I treat each client as an individual. So, what I may suggest to one, I may not have to request of another based on the phone conversation we have prior to us working together. However, one thing I can’t stress enough is the fact that editing is a process that should not be rushed. Allow the editor the time needed to do their job. Some manuscripts require more work than others. It’s okay to check on the progress of the editing. However, if you’re contacting the editor every day for an update, you’re taking the editor’s focus off your manuscript and slowing down the process. Also, authors, make sure you put on your thick skin. It’s not wise to be sensitive or get on the defensive during the editing process. You have to be open to constructive criticism. I want to be able to give you the best advice regarding your manuscript without having to worry about hurting your feelings. Remember, I’m on your side. This doesn’t mean an editor has the right to be harsh with their delivery of the constructive criticism, though. I have heard of a few editors who are guilty of having torn down an author so bad that they were discouraged from writing. My suggestions are to help make your work the best it can be. My job is to enhance, not harm. My goal is not to tear you down, but to build you up through constructive criticism. I’m your editor, not your friend. Therefore, I do what I’m getting paid to do.   

My Urban Books: Are there specific genres you edit? If so, why only those?

Carla Dean: I don’t limit myself to editing only certain genres. Over the last fourteen years, I’ve edited everything from poetry to urban fiction to paranormal romance.

My Urban Books: What is the everyday life of an editor? What makes your work ethic different from other editors?

Carla Dean: For me, no two days are the same. As for my work ethic, I have been told that my down-to-earth nature makes authors comfortable with working with me. Also, I am driven by my passion for editing. While the money helps to support me, it is not solely my motivation. My motivation comes from helping authors fulfill their dreams of putting out a story that others can enjoy.

My Urban Books: What do you encourage authors to ask when in search of an editor?

Carla Dean: Inquire about their years of experience, what type of editing they provide­– whether developmental editing, line editing, or proofreading, and if they can provide referrals for other authors they have worked with in the past. Also, it would be a good idea to request a sample edit. By doing so, the author will get a feel for the editor’s style and know if it will work for the type of book they have written.

My Urban Books: Besides editing, what other services do you offer? And which is your favorite to do?

Carla Dean: The list of services I offer include critiques, rewrites, developmental editing, line editing, proofreading, typesetting, and e-book converting. I also provide a typing service for those authors in need of having their handwritten manuscripts entered into Microsoft Word. My favorite service to provide is developmental editing because it allows me to enhance the author’s work more than if I were only hired to provide line editing or proofreading.

My Urban Books: With eBooks becoming the next big thing has business increased, decreased or remained the same for you?

Carla Dean: For me, business has remained about the same. I guess I can contribute that to the fact that the caliber of authors I work with, most of whom are repeat clients, recognize the importance of editing and don’t skip this vital step, even if only releasing their work as an e-book.

My Urban Books: What are the most common errors made by new authors?

Carla Dean: One of the most common errors made by new authors is thinking their manuscript only has to go through one edit before being published. If you expect others to take you seriously as an author, you have to treat your work like a business and not a hobby. Even manuscripts written by veteran authors go through AT LEAST three edits, which are developmental editing, line editing, and proofreading. Also, be sure to get beta readers, who are not friends and family members, to provide honest feedback on your work. This will allow you the opportunity to know where to go in and strengthen the story before moving forward with editing.

My Urban Books:  What advice would you give authors pertaining to editing their manuscripts?

Carla Dean: 1. Self-editing is good, but don’t rely solely on yourself to catch everything wrong with your manuscript. Hire a professional editor 2. Budget for editing; include it in your publishing expenses. Cheap is not always better and seldom is. So, don’t expect that “bargain” price to result in professional results. 3. Allow the editor enough time to edit your work. Chances are if they are good at what they do, they are in high demand. Therefore, your manuscript may not be the only one they are working on. Practice patient. It will be worth it in the end.

My Urban Books: How can authors contact you who are interested in your services and what are your guidelines?

Carla Dean: Anyone who is interested in my services can contact me via my website at or on Facebook at The guidelines are listed on my website. Authors can also request a rate sheet via the homepage.

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