Editors, Writing Coaches and Annie

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Today is Annie day. It’s become my favorite day of the week. Every Wednesday at 12:30 I have a phone conference with Annie, an editor and writing coach. Each week we discuss a 5,000 word portion of my book: Say It Out Loud: Revealing and Healing the Scars of Sexual Abuse. She comments and makes suggestions on content, and corrects those annoying little grammar and punctuation errors most authors make. During the following week I work on her suggestions while she edits the next 5,000 words, and on we go.

I connected with Annie through She Writes Press, who will be publishing my book. Our initial phone call was to determine if  we were a good match. First of all, in my mind, who wouldn’t like someone named Annie? The main character in one of my favorite musicals, my son’s first “girlfriend” at age six, and a name that just sounds friendly.

Since I would be working closely with this person, dissecting my book, there had to be more of a connection than just a name, and there was. Annie immediately understood my reason for writing. I didn’t live my life waiting for the day to become a published author nor did I major in journalism, writing, or even English. My greatest writing accomplishment before this book was writing hundreds of educational evaluations.  I wrote Say It Out Loud, exposing every fiber of my being, to show–not tell–others that they can heal from sexual abuse or any tragedy. It is a book of hope, inspiration, and usable tools to navigate the healing journey. In our first conversation after reading the full manuscript Annie paused to say, “I’m sorry you had to go through this.” She was the first person in the publishing industry to take a moment to make that comment.

In addition to being sensitive to my story she has the ability to identify where the reader may want more detailed information and stretches me to provide that detail. And at times it is a stretch. The sections where Annie asks for more are usually sections that I skimmed over for a reason. They were just too darn painful to write. Fortunately Annie’s style is to suggest, not demand, which allows me the decision to delve as deep, or shallow, as I wish. Each time I search my journals for a passage, or reflect on an emotion or memory of abuse, I’m  jolted back a bit, but knowing it may help the reader, and seeing the depth it adds to my writing is my inspiration.

So, I look forward to 12:30 today when I hear about my work for the coming week. I know that together, Annie and I, are going to make Say It Out Loud: Revealing and Healing the Scars of Sexual Abuse, the best book it can be.

And to Annie, the guru of grammar and punctuation, if you read this post please don’t edit! I tried to stick in as many commas as I could. 😉

Hope you all have an “Annie” kind of day! Roberta

One Comment

  1. Kathryn Orzech |

    Great post, Roberta. So happy you found such an understanding and sensitive editor and writing coach. I count the days till I can read “Say it Out Loud.” I cheer for you and thank Annie for her contribution to an important work, sure to provide practical tools to anyone navigating difficult times.