News, commentary, and fiction by Barb Hendee, co-author of the Noble Dead saga (www.NobleDead.org); author of the Mist-Torn Witches series, the Vampire Memories series, and more.

The Writer's Corner: Do Traditionally Published Writers Have More of an Edge than just Name Recognition?

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This post might get me some hate mail, but I feel the need to express some thoughts here.

I had a strange epiphany yesterday while doing a read-through of a 16,000 word story that I'd just finished.

Last spring, JC and I launched a self-published project called "Tales from the World of the Noble Dead."  We write stories between about 50 and 150 pages all set in the world of the Noble Dead Saga.

Tales

This project has been surprisingly successful.  One of the reasons for this is probably that JC and I do have some name recognition and a built-in fan base, and our website is now receiving about 12,000 hits a month (this has been steadily climbing).

But as I was completing the first draft of a new story yesterday, something important occurred to me.

I've been working with Roc Books for twelve years (since 2001).  Over the years, I've had three very good editors who all focused on slightly different elements of fiction during the editorial process. I've learned a great deal from all three of them, and they have made me a much better writer.

I am not some Prima Donna writer who thinks that solid gold fiction comes straight out of my bottom.  Creating something publishable takes work and revision.  My current editor always calls me on things when I've taken the easy way out or when I have not justified a plot point enough.

Yesterday, when I was going through my story, I had a pad and pen in my hand, and four times I stopped and thought, "Susan would never let me get away with that."  Then I jotted down notes regarding certain sections still needed more work.

I haven't always agreed with my editors, but they have always made me think, and they make me work harder, and with this Tales project (where JC and I are functioning as each other's editors), I want to make a story as solid as possible before he reads it.  Then I want the final product to be as professionally written as my novels being published by Roc.

As a result, I go through the stories and look at them through the eyes of my New York editor.  I really do believe that this would give any traditionally published writer an edge over a writer who has never worked with a professional editor.

This might be one more reason for fledgling writers to consider a traditional publisher before going indie.

Just a thought for today.

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