Why West of Mars Clients are the Best

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Author: Susan Helene Gottfried

It seems that lately, my inbox has been filled with good news. I am so not complaining, as good news is a precious commodity, meant to be handled with kid gloves lest it dissolve into ephemera. And it’s pretty. Full of warm fuzzies and all those other good things that we need to balance out the bad.

Yeah, you know where this is leading. To an e-mail I got the other night while waiting for my kids (what? You don’t work when you’re waiting for your kids?). One of my authors had gotten twenty-eight reviews on her newest release, which I’d proofed for her. Twenty-eight five star reviews. Not one was solicited. And before you pooh-pooh the paltry number, let me add this: they’d all happened within three weeks of release.

Now, this was the seventh book in a series. I came onto the team with book six, so she’s had plenty of time to build a readership and garner success before this seventh book came out. And she’s also had plenty of time to grow as a writer, as well.

But her e-mail made it pretty clear: Look what we did. Yay, us.

See those possessives here?

I’ve said before that I don’t work for royalties because it’s a project and when I finish it, I move on to the next. That’s true. No matter how proud of my authors I become and how many times they use plural possessives, the simple fact is that I have less at stake in this than my authors do.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t burst with pride with every success. With every story that a novella trilogy I edited went from earning $10 a month before the edit to earning $6000 this year alone. With every story of authors who are starting to win awards. Okay, the last person only won an honorable mention, but before we’d started working together, honorable mention was a far-off dream. And with every story of authors whose latest book hit a best-seller list or two.

This one, this seventh in the series, also hit a best-seller list, according to Amazon. So did one of my fantasy authors. And a thriller author before that.

It’s not all due to me, of course not. These men and women have a fantastic vision and a dedication to putting in the hard work required of best-selling authors.

But I’d like to think I played a role in the ultimate success. In helping them put their best word forward. That, my friends, is what a really good independent editor does.

And yes, I’m taking new clients.

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