I hail from the film world. Something I've discovered is most moviegoers tend to forget after a film ends that all those names in the credits are actual human beings. It's easy to think of them as shadow people. After all, most of us will never have the chance to meet them, nor ask what it was like to work on such productions.
I've found books to be much the same. Truth be told, I used to skip straight to the story, rather than look at the credits page.
Now I know better.
In preparing Salted for its release, I've been blessed with an amazing team of talented individuals and their unique talents. You'll meet them soon enough in future posts. Today, I have a most special treat for you. She claims her name to be Annetta Ribken. That's a lie though. Her real identity is an editing goddess come down from Olympus to take pity on this poor wretch.
Seriously. If/when Salted takes off, you should all be sending Annetta a thank you for how she transformed my feeble words into a bestseller.
As for me, I probably owe her a car.
She's also an author and has some goodies to offer those of you who care to read her fantastic responses. So read on, people of the world, and get to know Annetta Ribken, the content editor of Salted.
There was a fair bit of confusion for me when I began the process of finding an editor. Can you break it down for those not-in-the-know what your role as a content editor is vs. a copy editor and/or line editor?
It can be really confusing, especially when you're first starting out. The short answer is a content editor is the big-picture person. He or she looks at the plot, character development, story arc, and narrative flow. A copy or line editor helps your words say what they mean and mean what they say. They are two distinct skill sets, although sometimes they overlap.
Tell any future writers coming your way what you look for in an ideal client.
The editing process is a lot of fun, but it takes commitment, hard work, and no ego. First, I really like it when the manuscript comes to me properly formatted. That means the writer has looked at my guidelines and followed them. This is a good sign. My ideal client listens to my suggestions even if they disagree, and puts ego aside, trusting I have the story's best interest at heart. Nothing I say in an edit is the least bit personal. I want the story to shine. I want YOU to shine. The ideal client understands this and works with me, not against me.
I know it can be brutal at times, but I am not the enemy. I am here to help you produce the best story of which you're capable. I won't settle for less, and I won't let YOU settle for less.
Obligatory question: What’s your fave part about being a content editor?
The transformation of both the story and the writer. Nothing gives me more joy than to see a story polished to its brightest shine, or to see a writer fulfil their potential. A writer sees the story in their head. It's my job to help them translate that to the page. When it all clicks, it's the best.
What did it feel like for your book Allegories of the Tarot to place in the Ten Best Anthologies by Preditors & Editors and finish 2nd overall for Best Editor?
Actually, I was more thrilled for the Allegories placement than by the Best Editor. Allegories of the Tarot was a very special project, and to see it recognized for all the hard work put in by the writers as a group was amazing. I'm so incredibly proud of each and every one of them, and grateful for their help in putting the anthology together. It was a team effort, and one of the best experiences of my life.
I’m fascinated by Allegories, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. How did that come about?
Once upon a time, there was an editor with an irresistible attraction to the ancient Tarot. Out of nowhere, an idea came to her—what if the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana of the Tarot were matched up with twenty-two talented writers?
The idea wouldn't leave me alone. I was terrified. You're looking at a HUGE project, between funding, lining up the writers, and then editing and putting it all together. I wasn't sure I could pull it off, but I had to try. I knew I had access to an incredible talent pool. What I didn't anticipate was the support and help of every single writer to help make Allegories a reality. From the IndieGoGo campaign to the final product, everyone was helpful and supportive every step of the way. I watched as many of these writers bonded and still stay in touch with each other, and it truly was one of the most magical experiences I've ever had.
If you could meet any character in fiction, whom would it be and why?
Roland Deschain from the Dark Tower series. No question. I think he would scare me half to death but I'd love to sit with him over a fire and hear some of his stories. And I'd want him to teach me to shoot with my heart.
If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Bent But Not Broken—The Life And Times Of An Insane Word Nerd.
I loved your book Athena’s Promise. Care to shed any background on it?
Thanks! The Aegean Trilogy is based, in part, on the experiences I had living and working in a hotel for three years. I've always had a fascination with Greek mythology since grade school. I wrote two flash fiction pieces which became the inspiration for the trilogy. It just seemed natural to combine the events and people I encountered with the mythology I've loved for so long. It's really a fun world in which to cavort. That's another project I'm determined to finish before the end of this year. Book Two, Athena's Chains, is getting there.
What is it like having to deal with crazy writer personalities all the time?
Heh. It's a blast. They keep me on my toes, and I keep them on theirs. It works out.
What is your favorite novel that you wrote? Why?
Come on, now. That's like asking me to choose a favorite child, or a favorite author. The other ones will get jealous. The truth is they all have a piece of me in between the lines and I love them all.
What was your inspiration for The Trailer Park Tiara and Goat Incident?
It started out as a joke between me and two very special friends about a goat.
One day, Sally Mae Riddley started talking inside my head, and the next thing you know, BOOM. I thought I was writing a short story and it ended up a novella. One of the projects I'm working on is her second adventure, which is at about the halfway point.
Have anything you’d like to plug? A certain book perhaps? ;-)
Allegories of the Tarot is up at Story Cartel for a limited time. You can download a copy free of charge in exchange for a review for the next twelve days. Reviews help a book to be seen on Amazon, so they are much appreciated. You can find your free copy here: http://storycartel.com/genres/fantasy?page=2
Big thanks to Netta for taking time to answer my questions today. Click on any of her book covers to link to Amazon and learn more. Don't forget to grab a free copy of Allegories by clicking the above link. Free book for a review? Can't beat it!
- More on Annetta Ribken -
A professional editor of over one hundred novels, Annetta Ribken has also been writing since a tender young age, when letters were chiseled on stone tablets. A precocious student, Annetta earned her Ph.D in the School of Hard Knocks, with honors, in the early Age of Disco. She lives and works just outside of St. Louis with her evil feline overlord, a rescued shelter cat named Athena.
Amazon Author Page:
3/28/2014 07:10:26 am
Your answers made you look cool. I just provided the questions. That video is my favorite! Wish I could say I taught that dude all he knows. He might be a step or two ahead of me though...
3/28/2014 05:05:42 am
Great to hear about/from those behind the scenes of your new book, Aaron. Congrats to Annetta on her awards / award winning book!
3/28/2014 11:57:06 pm
Annetta, I enjoyed learning more about the "business" side of you. You give great interview too. ;) Aaron, thanks for sharing your experience with Annetta. I'm more convinced than ever that she's the person I want editing my novel. Good luck with yours!
3/29/2014 03:37:44 am
Will do! Likely the end of April.
3/29/2014 01:49:17 am
Marcia, you could not find a better editor. Netta is fantastic! Thanks for the well wishes on my book and best of luck on yours! You'll have to let me know when it comes out so I can buy a copy! :-)
4/2/2014 11:58:42 am
I love Netta because she is SO in your face and honest. You KNOW she has your back, and she is only out to give your book the best possible treatment.
4/2/2014 12:42:46 pm
Couldn't agree more, Eden. Not only is Netta honest and have your back, but she's a fantastic human being and friend. Can't believe how much I learned from her about life and the publishing world in just our short time together.
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