We’ve been talking about the nuts and bolts self-publishing for the past several Wednesdays here on the blog. Today we’re talking with a guest who has experience as both an editor and a published author.
Let’s give a big Eight Ladies Writing welcome to Nan Reinhardt.
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8LW: Thanks for talking with us today, Nan. Which came first, your editing or your writing career?
NR: Actually, although I’ve been writing stories since I was about ten years old, my editing career happened before I began writing to publish. I started doing freelance copy editing and proofreading in 1996 after I was laid off from a part-time job. I had done a lot of editing and proofreading at that job, and so it just felt right to try to go freelance with those skills. I tested for IDG Books and got on as one of their For Dummies proofreaders, began soliciting work from other computer book publishers, and slowly built up a client list. Then, in 2009, after a trip to Paris, I wrote my first novel and sent it to an agent, who took me on and that was the beginning of my writing career.
8LW: Wow, that’s a great journey. So what do you enjoy about being an editor?
NR: Everything. Seriously, it’s the world’s best job, particularly now that my focus is mainly on editing fiction. I love all the wonderful stories I get to read and I love helping authors be better writers. Plus, I get to work at home in my jammies if I want to. I can pretty much set my own hours, except that I do have deadlines for projects, so I have to maintain some sort of schedule. And I can work anywhere, so going to the lake or out to visit my kids means I’m just picking up my act and taking it on the road. It’s a great job!
8LW: That does sound like a great job. Assuming it’s not all unicorns and rainbows, what do you find the most challenging?
NR: Sometimes, I fight with wanting to shove my own voice into a book that really requires a very heavy copy edit. The urge to rewrite probably comes from being a writer myself and thinking, “Oh, this would sound so much better if . . .” But I don’t do that because that’s not my job. I can make suggestions, but ultimately, my credo is “Respect the author’s voice,” so I try hard to always do that. The nice thing about being in the business as long as I have is that I can be kinda picky about the projects I take on—so I can mostly do books I know I’ll enjoy. Even the computer titles I work on are fun because they’re a little something different and the authors are always so accepting of my edits and suggestions. They are not writers as much as they are experts in their fields and my job is to help them sound as smart as they really are and they’re always grateful for that.
8LW: What have you learned from your editing that has helped you as a writer?
NR: Wow, that’s a tough question because I learn something new with nearly every project. I’ve learned about echoes and POVs and anachronisms and what makes a story flow well . . . editing romantic fiction is a great way to become a better romance writer. I’ve also learned a lot about research because frequently, I have to verify information that my authors use in their books. One the secrets of being a good editor is knowing where to look stuff up. J
8LW: You’re an indie author, as well as traditionally published. Can you tell us a little about your path to publication?
NR: Honestly, I was kinda shoved onto to that indie publishing path because my agent and I just couldn’t get any publisher to take on my older characters. I got some of the nicest rejection letters ever where AEs said, “Love her voice, love her writing, but I don’t know how to market her older characters.” Indie wasn’t my first choice, but after more rejections than I can count, and with the help of my amazing editor, Lani Diane Rich and her husband, Alastair Stephens and their company, StoryWonk, I decided to take matters into my own hands. So many of my IRWA chapter sisters gave me advice and held my hand as I did the actual process of getting my books up, and I’m eternally grateful to them. Plus, my kid built me a kickass website—he’s my guru.
Maybe I should’ve been willing to make my characters young, but you know, I’m an older character and I have no idea even how to begin to write the voice of a 21-year-old. Truthfully, I wouldn’t even want to try because it would be so false. I’m very passionate about the fact that love never ages—we seasoned folks are still falling in love, and know what? We’re still having sex . . . I believe there’s a market for seasoned romance and I’m going to keep fighting for that.
8LW: That leads very nicely to my last question: What’s next for you in your writing career?
NR: Currently, I’m working on two more Women of Willow Bay books. And I have several other ideas simmering in the background. New characters are talking to me all the time. I’m going to continue to write my seasoned romances because that’s what I know and love. And I’m going to continue to work to get traditional publishers to take on books with older characters. Boomer Lit rocks!
Thanks so much for talking with us today, Nan. Before we go, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a writer of romantic fiction for women in their prime. Yeah, women still fall in love and have sex, even after 45! Imagine! I’m also a wife, a mom, a mother-in-law, and a grandmother. I’ve been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay-at-home mom, a secretary, and for the last twenty years, I’ve earned her living as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader.
But writing is my first and most enduring passion. I can’t remember a time in her life when I wasn’t writing—I wrote her first romance novel at the age of ten, a love story between the most sophisticated person I knew at the time, my older sister (who was in high school and had a driver’s license!) and a member of Herman’s Hermits. If you remember who they are, you are my audience! I’m still writing romance, but now from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled, menopausal woman who believes that love never ages, women only grow more interesting, and everybody needs a little sexy romance.
Visit my website at www.nanreinhardt.com, where you’ll find links to all my books as well as blogs about writing, being a Baby Boomer, and aging gracefully…mostly. I also blog every Tuesday at Word Wranglers, sharing the spotlight with four other romance authors, and make a quarterly appearance on the Romance University blog. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and via email.