Thursday, December 30, 2010

My editor (bless her heart,) I owe her so much

My last post linked to an article on Hubpages (my favorite place on the internet) where I shared my ascent up the very steep learning curve of writing press releases. As I'm publishing with an independent publisher, much of the promotional work is up to me -- not that they don't do their part, they do, but still... And as I'm fairly impoverished at this time (or any other) I've taken the DIY route to book promotions. All of this led to my sharing of this great learning experience in what I hope will be a series of articles I've dubbed the Penurious Promoter.

Now that you're up to date, (in case you didn't read the last one) let's get on with the new post.

Always willing to help me, my editor, Kathryn Lynn Davis used her magic red pen on the result I so proudly displayed to my readers, improving it greatly. Therefore, I am compelled by some ego-driven demon to share the new one with you, as well.

Kathryn Lynn Davis
But first, let me tell you a bit about Kathryn.

When I first sat down to write This Bird Flew Away, I hadn't written much beyond professional reports for my business in years. And I was an auditor, accountant and business consultant so you can imagine the dry stuff I churned out. I was more than rusty. I was seized-up. Yet, the story had to come out. It had lived in my brain and heart for so many years it threatened to choke me. But, sitting at my keyboard, struggling, I had to admit I'd lost the style and technique once so dear to me. Like all neglected children, it had run away from home, looking for the attention and love it required.

Use it or lose it is the applicable cliche.

Some scenes poured out well. In fact, some parts were bloody brilliant. (If I do say so myself.) But others...let's just say they were less so. My poor novel was ragged, inconsistent and seemed nothing more than a few bright spots linked together by dreck. I didn't know what to do to fix it.

Only by happenstance did I find Kathryn, and we started out as two strangers, she the paid professional and me the wannabe in labor, trying to give birth at an age where such endeavors should be long past. At first, she only looked at the first ten pages but managed to cram so much information, so much direction, such good advice, and somehow balanced criticism with enough praise, I didn't give up. She was kind and generous.

Those ten (free) pages gave me enough pointers to pull a reasonable rough draft together. Well, now I know better; one doesn't pay an editor to work on a rough draft, but at the time, I thought it the only way. I suppose she must have seen enough good in my efforts to make it worthwhile, because she went well beyond the requirements of any editor. I know this now. I didn't then.

She sent me back passages for rewrite, and suggested whole new scenes to write that pulled it all together. She found holes in my story, parts that didn't work, passages that needed a new direction, and praised those areas that did work to the skies. We were perhaps a month into working before she actually did any editing. She was my coach and my mentor first.

As if that wasn't enough, upon my receipt of the edited manuscript, and payment of her more than reasonable fee, we continued with rewrites, back and forth by email, long after the edit was done, and all from her great generosity.

Kathryn poured encouragement into me, made me believe that what I'd written had merit, insisted it should see the light of day. She even helped me write queries, and used her own contacts to help me.

Then, when a publisher was interested in This Bird Flew Away, and after all my revising and tweaking I knew it had to be edited again, she offered to do the work, even though I couldn't afford to pay for it at the time. "The important thing," she wrote to me, "is to get it ready for publication. Pay me later."

It is only now, when I hear from other authors and their trials with independent editors, that I realize what a gem of a woman Kathryn is, and how lucky I was to tumble into her care. For that's the only way to describe what she did for me. If This Bird Flew Away is a work of any worth, much, perhaps most of the credit belongs to Kathryn Lynn Davis.

She is an established author herself, with eight published novels and a New York Times bestseller, a talented and gifted individual. And here she is editing my press release. Still helping me. Still feeding me encouragement. Still praising my work. 

What a blessing. Thank you Kathryn.

Anyway, back to the original subject. Yes, I'm going to show you the edited press release, and if any of you have read the first,(thank you)  you'll notice the tremendous difference here in the second.

Amazing what a good editor can do for you.

Sincerely yours,


The Press Release

For immediate release

Two Thirds of Sexual Abuse Victims Receive No Assistance, Says Author

North Port, Fl (12/30/2010)  -- In the late ‘60s, the product a troubled youth and a dysfunctional family, Lynda Martin found herself on her own at the age of fifteen, two thousand miles from her home. She knows firsthand the dangers facing girls on the streets and the predators that prey on them. She was one of the lucky ones.

She survived.

So does the heroine of her upcoming book, This Bird Flew Away (scheduled for release January 27, 2011). 

Martin, author and veteran child protection worker, says official statistics for childhood sex abuse drastically understate the problem leaving an estimated two-thirds of all victims with no access to professional assistance or support. Healing from such trauma is difficult without counseling and guidance. “Too many past victims live in pain and anger, unable to put the past behind them.”

In the late nineties, Martin attended an international conference on child protection and learned professionals estimate less than thirty percent of child sex abuse is reported. World-wide, they suggested, seven out of ten girls and four out of ten boys are victims of childhood sexual assault. “That number has haunted me ever since. I wanted to find a way to reach out to the seventy percent of all women who are living with those memories.”

So she decided to write a fictional account of one girl’s twenty-year journey from neglect and abuse to success and happiness, a tale based on some of the many real-life stories she encountered in her thirty years of work with child abuse victims. Her goal was to craft a story that would appeal to women and mature girls, one in which the traditional process of healing is mapped out but embedded in an entertaining and exciting tale.

The result is her novel, This Bird Flew Away. 

This Bird Flew Away (ISBN 9781935605928) will be available January 27, 2011  from the publisher, Black Rose Writing, or at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and from the This Bird Flew Away website. Visit the website at for more information.

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