Saturday, 17 December 2011

Suck it up, Princess

I fully understand that the book is the author’s baby, something they have sweated tears and blood over for weeks, months, in some cases even years, but there comes a time when the author needs to pull up her big girl panties, tie a knot, and move on.

So the publisher ignored your carefully prepared fact sheet and the cover art looks nothing like you envisioned the heroine to be. If the hair color and body shape is reasonably accurate, and she’s not pictured in the snow when your story takes place in midsummer, and the title and your name is spelled correctly, then it’s time to suck it up, Princess. Publishers produce cover art on a budget. There are also house style rules that must be obeyed. Other quirks include things like some fonts don’t translate into various download formats so can’t be used.

Acting like a drama queen because the heroine’s hair is too long or too short is usually a waste of time. If you ask nicely, the artist may be able to change it. If the publisher says no, accept that, tie a knot and move on.
Sometimes I watch on chat loops as arguments about the placement of commas, or whether or not a word is hyphenated, go on for days or even weeks. Most publishers have a house style manual. You may always have written using the Oxford comma. Many publishers have now deleted it. They are not going to reinstate it no matter how much you argue.
Similarly with hyphenation. Go to That will give you an idea about how a word is usually spelled. But even so, if house style is to spell it a different way, then that’s the way it’ll be.

For something not house style, if you want it spelled the way 2 out of 27 records show it, I don’t think the publisher will agree. Again, you can ask politely, but prepare yourself for rejection. The author’s job is to write the book. Once you sign a contract you agree to follow house style and editing processes. If you spend the entire editing cycle in tears, maybe this is not the publisher for you. Submit elsewhere next time. Live and learn. Or go Indie. That way at least you have control over your cover art. But remember, if the way you spell and punctuate in your Indie book is too different from the norm, you’ll pull your reader out of the story and they won’t buy your next book. Meanwhile, suck it up, Princess.

Helen Woodall
Freelance Editor

**Amarinda here...Want a good, experienced editor who will not piss around with your book and who has actually been in the business more that 2 seconds? I totally recommend Helen Woodall.


anny cook said...

Yep. Diva-dom is waaaaay over-rated.

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Thanks for inviting me to guest blog and for your kind words.