Two things have happened in the past couple of days. My editor sent the edits, and my advance arrived in the mail.

All of it.

I haven’t taken the check to the bank yet, although I will; I’m not one of those who think its value lies only in the accomplishment and frame it instead of cashing it. I can use the money.

But I keep glancing at it and feel a swell of pride. It does represent an accomplishment for me. It’s been a long road of writing and rejection, of classes when my family/friends spent the time doing something fun. Of frustration and disappointment when something I wrote wasn’t considered good enough.

So this check represents a step in my progress, and maybe I’m savoring its essence as I would a fine wine. After previously signing with a small press that delivered very little of what it promised, I feel I’ve taken a huge step forward. Still not where I want to be, but that will come if I keep trying.

At least I hope so.

When I saw the edits email, my heart did a flip-flop. Were they going to tear the manuscript apart? Were they going to delete sentences, paragraphs, pages I thought were important? Worse, was the editor going to scribble in big red letters that she/he had never seen such drivel, and she couldn’t imagine why 5 Star even considered it?

While that may seem extreme, I still remember a certain agent in my early writing saying almost the same thing, and with each submission since, I still have that moment of doubt, of anxiety when they respond.

So when I received the email, I took a moment before I clicked the inbox. Please, please, I whispered, not even sure what I was asking.

Quickly before I found something more important to do such as cleaning the oven, I took the plunge. I clicked on the message.

No blood-red scribbles. I scrolled through the pages, beginning to breathe again, and found a correction here and there and an occasional question, such as what did I mean by this word or that one? And, a comment about leaving an event unexplained and I needed to make it clear.

Ok, I thought. I can handle that. And when I later scrolled again through the pages, I felt grateful she found the dumb typos and mistakes. And I had them. Even as many times as I had gone over the manuscript, editing while I wrote, fixing this word or that one, correcting a stilted sentence after I’d written a scene, completely revising during my final edits before sending it off, she found errors.

Strange. I didn’t feel embarrassment; instead, I was grateful. Now my novel will be able to ‘appear in public’ without glaring errors. Oh I’m sure there will still be some. She might miss something and I probably will too, but at least there shouldn’t be that many.

I realize some people won’t like my story, and that’s okay. I don’t like every book out there, even some by my favorite authors. That’s what all writers face, but my story will be spruced up for its public appearance. And for that, I’m grateful.

Thank goodness for eagle-eyed editors.

And it looks as if 5 Star is keeping my title, With Full Malice. So they’re zipping along and it should be just a few months until I see my first ARC – advance review copy. Can’t wait.

I'm a novelist, short story writer, and I currently serve as CEO for L. Cooper Press, a service for writers. Thomson-Gale bought one of my novels, With Full Malice, for their 5 Star Mystery line, then Harlequin WorldWide Mysteries bought the mass market paperback rights. I lead a novel critique group in Redlands, CA, so if you're in the area and writing a novel, join us: When I can't attend, Amy Fletcher leads the group. You can always contact me through my websites:

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Posted in My Blog, The Publishing Process
4 comments on “Advance
  1. Candace says:

    Hi Brenda, great job! How wonderful to have so few editorial changes. It will be worth it, as you say, to have an improved final product. So proud of you.

    • brendahill says:

      Candace, hello! And thanks.

      Since we’re ahead of schedule, the editor gave me permission to go back through it once more, and am I ever glad. I’m finding so many things to change, to reword. I truly want to be proud of this novel, already am in so many ways, but now, of course, I’m already wondering how others will like it, something every writer experiences.

      And congratulations on your new release this year, the third and perhaps final of the wonderful trilogy.

      Good luck!

  2. Might I suggest you photocopy the check. That way you can frame it AND enjoy the cash assets.

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February 2011
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