There must be something in the air – besides Christmas, that is – and it’s causing a spate of authors to forget that I can see everything they do to their files if they leave their Track Changes feature enabled. It’s like seeing someone’s sweater or shirt tag hanging out from their collar. I always want to tuck it in for them because for some silly reason it drives me buggy.
I don’t know about you, but there is NO WAY I’d ever want anyone seeing how crappy my original query/chapter was. I only want them thinking I’m naturally brilliant. When I open a query letter or chapters and see a sea of red cross-outs and blue edits, I feel like a literary Peeping Tom. Remember, you always want to be seen as a professional, so do yourself a favor and check your files over before you hit the Send button.
And in this same vein, make sure you know all the ins and outs of your word processing program. Can you imagine what I’m thinking if I ask you to fix the problem and you tell me you don’t know how? It’s like a surgeon telling his patient he doesn’t know what that sharp, pencil-shaped thing is. Your word process program is a part of you literary tackle box, and you need to understand how it works because this is how publishers go through the editing process.
It doesn’t matter what word processing program you use to write your book. For example, I have Open Office on my laptop. It works fine. However, I’ve noticed that it doesn’t read the “insert comment” balloons exactly the same, and it makes for some confusion. So when you get your book deal, buy yourself Word – and make sure you know how to use it.
The worst thing you can ever say to an editor? “I’m not sure how to do that/fix that.” No, no, no, no. One thing we don’t have time for is on-the-job-training. If you consider yourself a professional (and you should), then you need to act like one and know how to use all the tools of your trade. What we want to hear is, “Yah, I can do that.” Music to a black-hearted editor’s soul.
- Check your files to make sure Track Changes feature is turned off – and you’ve made all the appropriate accept/reject decisions
- Save the file
- Check it over again
- Know how to use your Word or word processing program as well as the beagle knows how to make a pitcher of margaritas
Because, hey, I’m going to be tempted to tuck your tag back into your shirt.