Interview With Literary Editor Ann Fisher

Ann Fisher

Hi everyone,

Today I’m interviewing literary editor, Ann Fisher. Not only is Ann the best literary editor in the world, she also is my good friend. She really whipped my book into shape and I’m forever grateful for that.

Interview With Literary Editor, Ann Fisher

Ann Fisher

This post is for all the self-published authors out there. I’ve been reading the comments of several writers in various online groups. Some indie writers edit their own books or get friends to do it. While other writers with tight budgets pick the cheapest literary editor to work on their manuscripts. I disagree with this wholeheartedly. First of all, well-known writers like Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Anne Rice wouldn’t think of not having their work professionally edited. If you’re a professional writer you MUST hire a professional literary editor. If you can’t afford one then save money until you can. You don’t want to look like an amateur and you want readers and reviewers to take you seriously.

Finding and hiring a good editor isn’t difficult. I met Ann at a writers group. She was highly recommended and her resume is quite impressive. To find a  good literary editor get recommendations from other writers. Before hiring,  have them send  you references and samples.  Book editors typically charge per page and fees range from $4-$8 per page. The best tend to charge in the $6 per page or higher range. Can you get great editing for $1-$2 per page? From my experience and talking to established writers, no you can’t. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so feel free to comment.

Interview With Literary Editor, Ann Kempner Fisher

Q.  What’s your opinion about writers thinking they can do their own editing?

A: Writers really cannot edit themselves well enough. The reason is that writers are too close to their work; not able to step back and be objective, not able to ask (on every page) “Am I holding the reader’s interest?”

Without editorial help and often mentoring/coaching, a writer will often miss the flaws in their writing and certainly won’t even see obvious redundancies or weaknesses in plot, or the general lack of tension and conflict which every good story must have.

Q: What’s the most common writing mistake?

A: Assuming they don’t need a good editor to point out their weaknesses and strengths, and the “how to” of revising a manuscript with the guidance of an editor who will ask all the questions the writer never thought of on the road to improvement.

Q: What are the types of editing? What does an editor do?

A:  A good editor takes a hands-on approach and makes the writer understand the work that needs to be done; then guides them through that process.  The editor looks for the writer’s potential: is the story interesting but needs more focus, or better structure? Is it peopled with intriguing characters that the reader cares about, i.e. does the writer bring the characters to life?  Does the author have a sense of authenticity about time and place in which a story takes place?  Are the chapter endings able to “flip” us into the next chapter–make us want to keep reading?  Is the story character driven?  Just because a writer has a good basic story doesn’t necessarily mean it will be well-written.  The hard work begins with that second draft.  And very important: does the editor know when to leave well enough alone? No editor egos allowed.

Methods of editing vary, but my own is done on the page, in red ink, and the changes, additions, deletions, questions, suggestions, etc. are also written and referenced within the lines and in the margins.

Q: How can a writer improve dull dialogue?

Answer: Listen, really listen, to how people sound and what they say.  Of course, you don’t want tape-recorded type dialogue, and you want all your characters to sound different from one another. Dialogue needs to be unpredictable and not boring.  Stay away from small talk; good dialogue is always about something.  Read the dialogue you’ve written out loud to yourself. Does it sound stilted, too formal, not real?  You may know what you want a character to say, but how they say it is equally important. All good dialogue must be both character-revealing and move the story along.

Q: Why did you decide to become an editor?

Answer:  I was always a born critic and was told I had a laser-sharp knack for telling people how to make their writing better than it was.   It’s always been very satisfying to see an author make changes that improve their work and to know I had a hand in helping them get to that place.

Many thanks to Ann for this interview.

Ann’s contact info:

Phone: (770) 509-5063 Email: