Edit My Novel, Editing Services, by Bestselling Author, Cara Lockwood
Cara Lockwood has lived every writer's dream--one of her novels was a bestseller and made into a movie, starring none other than Dean Cain! Now she's beginning a new venture because she wants to help writers and novelists find the same success that she's experienced. We are lucky enough to talk to Cara today about her writing, her novels, and her new editing business, Edit My Novel.
WOW: Cara, welcome to The Muffin! We are thrilled to have you here today to discuss your writing and your new venture--Edit My Novel. Let's start with a little about you. What type of books have you written and published? What's one of your favorites?
Cara: Thanks so much and I’m so glad to be here! I’ve written nine novels in several different genres from chick lit and romance to fantasy and teen fiction. My first novel, I Do (But I Don’t), was a USA Today bestseller and was made into a Lifetime Original Movie starring Denise Richards and Dean Cain. My novels have been translated into several languages and are sold all around the world. You can find out more about all my work at www.caralockwood.com.
As far as my favorite novel goes, it’s so hard to select just one. It feels a little like picking a favorite child; but if I was forced to choose, I’d say Dixieland Sushi. This novel was very loosely based on my childhood, growing up half-Japanese in the south. Also, every chapter heading has a quote from Mr. Miyagi. You can’t really get better than that.
WOW: I love that title--Dixieland Sushi. How exciting to have one of your books turned into a movie. Congratulations on all your success! When working on your novels, what do you find is the easiest part? What is the hardest?
Cara: For me, the easiest part is usually writing the first half. When I start a novel, I’m energized and full of hope (and perhaps some delusions of grandeur) that, yes, this will be the next Great American Novel. It’s only when I put words to the page that I start to see some flaws in my plan.
That’s why I find the third act so hard to finish. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m amazingly brilliant in my own mind; but when I finally get all the words down on paper, I am often disappointed. It doesn’t help that somewhere along the way I start to think I’m smarter than my own outline, and I abandon it entirely. This is really rarely a good idea; yet I can’t help myself. It happens nearly every time.
So, I almost always have a crisis of confidence before I write the third act. I have to push through that and make it to the end. A looming deadline usually helps motivate me. If I didn’t have a deadline and an editor waiting for my novel, I might never finish another one again!
WOW: Thank goodness for deadlines! How will you use your experience as a writer in your new venture as a freelance editor?
Cara: I have been very fortunate in my career to have some really fantastic editors, and I’ve learned a lot from them. I also understand the writer’s perspective. It takes a lot of courage to offer your work up for a critique, and I’m very aware of that. I like to think I am gentle but honest. I truly want to help writers make their work better and I will celebrate strengths as much as I point out weaknesses.
Also, I really do understand the marketability of manuscripts. There are many editors out there, but few have actually written a bestseller. I think that gives me a unique perspective and the ability to help others find success in their writing careers.
WOW: Great point! You've been in the trenches, so you know what to do from personal experience. What type of editing services do you offer at Edit My Novel?
Cara: There are several packages we offer. The most affordable is the “Quick Take” package, starting at $95. I’ll edit a writer’s synopsis and first three sample chapters. This is a great way to just dip your toe in the proverbial editorial waters and get quick feedback on writing style. I also offer two other packages, including “The Second Look,” which is more in depth and then “Full Disclosure,” which offers a complete edit of the entire manuscript, line by line. The final package starts at $495 and depends on length.
For writers who might be on the fence about editing services, I offer free sample edits for anyone wanting to get a better understanding of how I work. I’ll edit anyone’s first 500 words for free.
Also, as a quick mention, I’m an official sponsor of National Novel Writing Month. All NaNoWriMo warriors are welcome at Edit My Novel. In December, I’ll be running a special promotion for NaNoWriMo participants, so stay tuned.
WOW:That's great because a lot of WOW! team members and fans are participating in NaNoWriMo. And anyone who is doing it or has done it knows that you have NO TIME to edit while you are trying to complete 50,000 words in 30 days! So, why should a writer have a professional edit of her manuscript?
Cara: Every writer needs a good editor. Even very successful writers benefit from editing. Writing is a solitary pursuit, and you can easily lose perspective on your own work. Editors help make your work better. They can see things you can’t, and they can inspire you to find new ways to improve your story. I can’t count the number of times I’ve struggled with a scene in a novel only to be struck by inspiration after one quick phone call with my editor.
Also, for anyone hoping to attract an agent’s attention or an editor at a major publishing house, you should know that both agents and editors expect manuscripts to be completely polished and ready to go. Long gone are the days where agents or editors might spend some time working with a writer they think might have potential. Frankly, there’s just too much competition out there. Agents and editors are literally inundated with hundreds of query letters a day. Agents and editors are so busy and overburdened these days that they simply don’t have time to hold any new writer’s hand.
It’s more important than ever that you can get your manuscript in the best shape possible. Not to mention, if you decide to self-publish, editing is even more important. If you have typos or inconsistencies in your manuscript, you run a serious risk of alienating readers. It’s already a hard road to market your work independently, and you don’t want to make that path tougher by letting something as simple as a misspelling on your first page ruin a first impression.
WOW: These are all great points, and like you said, you speak from experience. You know how it is out there in the real world. So, if someone is interested in working with you to edit her novel, what should she do?
Cara: They should browse the site, www.edit-my-novel.com, choose the package they’d like, and securely check out. After that, they can send their work to me directly in a Word file at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If they aren’t sure they are ready to commit until they test my services, they can always e-mail me the first 500 words of their manuscript at email@example.com. I will happily edit that page and e-mail it back to them.
WOW: That sounds super easy! Anything else you would like to add about your writing and editing?
Cara: Writing is truly my life’s passion. There’s nothing I love more than writing. I really started this editing service because I was hoping to help other people like me who feel that writing is their life’s calling. I feel fortunate enough to be doing the job I love, and I hope to help others do the same.
WOW: Thank you, Cara, for your time and for discussing writing and editing with us today. Writers, if you are interested in trying out Cara's services or receiving a free sample, make sure to visit, Edit My Novel!
interview by Margo L. Dill