Interview with a Professional Editor and Bestselling Author - #GetPublished

April 8, 2015

I recently did an interview, and I thought that I'd post it here so everyone following my blog can get to know me better. 

Tell us about yourself. 
My name is Sherry Soule and I am an Amazon bestselling author and a freelance developmental editor, who has years of experience working with popular novelists. Many of my fiction and non-fiction books have spent time on the top 100 bestseller Kindle lists. My vast expertise as an editor has helped other writers take their writing skills to the next level.

What is your personal experience as an author and freelance editor?

Over the last fifteen years, I’ve been traditionally published, and had some novels published through an indie publisher, and even self-published, which I feel gives me some compassion and understanding into the industry. I have also studied the craft for over ten years, and as a former acquisitions editor for
Crescent Moon Press and senior editor for Disenchanted Publishing (where I edited several award-winning and bestselling novels), I think my insight into the creative writing process will help other writers to find success.

What is your favorite thing to work on?

I only like to do “big picture” edits. Most writers need a developmental edit once they have finished at least two drafts and they are ready to dig into the manuscript and clean up the story structure. I will check for things such as conceptual flow (i.e. plot pacing, character development (characterization), story arc, etc.), plot holes, fluidity, setting, concept, backstory, and dialogue. I will do some editing on word choice, repeated phrases, and sentence structure. I work closely with writers to tighten and strengthen their work into the best possible shape.

What do you not care to work on?

Straight copy-edits or proofreads.

How long have you been working as freelance editor?

I started doing developmental editing about eight years ago, and I enjoy helping
my clients enhance their prose. I call myself a “Creativity Coach” because my approach to editing is to nurture writers and help them find their full potential as authors. It is such an honor to guide writers on their journey to success. 

How did you get started?

After working with several of the top editors in the publishing industry and becoming an editor myself, I realized I had a passion for wanting to help other writers improve their craft.

I only give “tough love” in my manuscript critiques. Tough love can usually be hard to take, but “honest criticism” is crucial to ensure that your fiction novel is in the best shape possible before it gets into the hands of readers, or even agents and editors. A writer’s success is my main goal, and I’m vehement about my tough love approach because it has helped numerous writers force themselves to grow as a storyteller. My honest feedback is only out of love and belief in their work. Often time’s tough love is what’s needed to take their writing skills to the next level. 

Every writer that I've worked with has been offered a publishing contract or has landed an agent within a year. Some of the self-published writers that I've had the honor to work with have become bestselling authors. I can't promise that every writer will find instant success, but they'll be a lot closer than other writers if they take my advice to heart.

Imagine you're talking to a client. Tell us what we should do to make your work easier or for you to better help us.

Do at least two to three drafts before you seek out an editor, and find at least two critique partners (CP) to exchange manuscripts with to do another round of revisions. I am a firm believer in using CPs to learn and grow as a writer. Every serious writer should have a CP (and use a professional editor at some point). Your CP is one of your most valuable allies when venturing into the world of publishing. They’re the person who will tell you when you’re writing is awesome–or when it sucks. They’re the person who will encourage you when the rejections start pouring in, and they’re also the one who will commiserate with you about publishing woes.

Once a writer finishes another pass on the manuscript after exchanging with their CPs, it is time to hire an editor.

Getting to Know You Questions

What is your favorite genre to read?

I have diverse tastes in literature from graphic novels to genre fiction.

What is your favorite character from fiction?

Well, to be honest, I would have to say the heroines of my own published novels. Shiloh from my popular YA series the Spellbound Prodigies is one of my favorites because her character is so complex.

Do you have favorite TV shows?

In no particular order:

THE 100
(Yeah, I watch a lot of TV. LOL)

Please tell us something about you that we would be surprised to learn.

I really do love helping other writers to find success, so I started doing (free) author mentoring where I help self-published writers revamp their online image, get more exposure for their books (including reviews), and offer advice on how to get their novel more exposure and help them give their whole author “look” a more professional appearance.

And I have self-published several bestselling handbooks on self-editing, such as the "Writer's Guide to Character Emotion" that helps writers to instantly improve their writing skills.

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