So I’m currently negotiating with a couple publishers for distribution of my book (I had a second give the green light on Wednesday). Technically I can only sign with one, but I’m still trying to weigh the benefits of both. Well, one of the first steps in that is speaking with their editors and obtaining feedback from them in terms of grammatical issues/style and content.
Personally, as far as content, I’m 100% happy with how it turned out. I don’t want to be closed off to suggestions or anything, but every sentence I wrote had a very specific purpose – be it plot progression, character development, or subtle point I wanted to make about societal issues (I threw a lot of that in there). Not to mention I wrote this for Mom, so I’m very protective over the creative integrity of the manuscript.
That said, the first publisher did in fact have some omissions and suggestions, as I’m sure all authors receive. I was pretty shocked that they didn’t find any grammar issues, but I thought it would be interesting to post what they recommended so people can have an inside view on what kind of feedback writer’s get. The jury’s still out on which of these changes I end up making.
#1: Change the number of years until The Catalyst impacts Earth from 32 to 12 for a stronger sense of urgency.
This is a definite no. I picked 32 years intentionally so the current generation doesn’t have to be too concerned about it. I think they’ll understand that once I explain.
#2: Change Melissa Gomez, the Hispanic Reporter, to an African-American female with an appropriate name.
I doubt I’ll do this either. Erica is a black female presence later in the book (who will be more prominent in the second installment), and doing this would leave me Hispanic-less. Diversity FTW 🙂
#3: Chapter 2 – change Zach’s comment “yessa masta” to “yes master”.
I think, if I recall correctly, they thought this would be offensive to black people. Personally I think that’s kind of absurd, but I guess recently people have been getting offended by what color the sky is, so maybe this isn’t a bad suggestion. If any black people read this, feel free to let me know if that’s offensive to you. In context of how the sentence was used in the book – it has absolutely nothing to do with racial references. Jennifer simply tells her assistant Zach to record the findings of an asteroid and that’s his response.
#4 Chapter 4 – change Brody’s comment “ridiculously smoking hot” to “ridiculously hot”. Or alternatively, “smoking hot”.
Semantics. Makes sense I suppose.
#5: Chapter 9 – omit the comment on butterflees. See below. If removed, the same reference would need to be omitted in Chapter 12.
Holding the jeans over the black shoes to examine the contrast, Brody glares at Carson. “Well my friend, you ARE about to take quite possibly the hottest woman on planet Earth out to dinner. I think getting in touch with your sensitive side might do you well for an occasion such as this.”
Carson’s smile fades. “True. It’s weird – I almost feel…nervous. This has never happened before! So this is what butterflees feel like, huh?”
Brody looks at him, puzzled. “You mean butterflies?”
“No Brody, butterflees. Butterflees sound better.”
“You’re so weird.” Brody makes his way to the shirt section of Carson’s closet. “Alright, this one. Try this on.”
Sorry guys, can’t do that one. Butterflees are a throwback to something Mom used to say when I was a kid.
Anyway, there are a few more changes that are really minor things, but this is some of the stuff they look for evidently. There was some really funny feedback they sent at the bottom that wasn’t necessarily related to amendments I need to make, but more like expectations of public reception one its published.
For example, they warned me to be prepared for “extreme polarized criticism regarding social and religious issues addressed in the manuscript”. I’m assuming they’re referring to Carson’s conflicted views on religion and several characters disapproval of our current societal structure.
Oh, they also said I might want to change the global politicians names. I named the US Prez Bernard O’Hare, the German Chancellor Annette Mahler, and the British PM David Cuthbert. All of whose initials coincide with their real-life counterparts. So they said to expect some feedback about that – whether good or bad. I can’t imagine this will be TOO big of a deal – I mean its not like I’m the first person to criticize a political figure. And actually I give them some love in certain parts. No one’s perfect, I know that.
Anyway, like I said these are a few examples of what one of the editor’s came back with (yep, ended a sentence in a preposition there). I thought it was pretty interesting, and for the most part very useful feedback.