The Moment My Head Exploded or The Day My Hired Editor Quit

“You will sell this book.”


(That was the sound of me falling over backward. It’s not clear if it was a lack of oxygen to the brain, or an over-inflated ego that off-balanced me.)

Okay, so what does he know?

Well, he is an editor; he’s qualified to give an opinion.

Yes, but I’m paying him.

But he quit–54 pages into a critique. Offered me a refund. Said it was the best thing he’s read all spring and summer.

I admit I’m an approval junkie with crushing self-esteem issues. I suspect I’ve contrived a situation in order to hear what I crave.

He didn’t say that the last time.

But maybe the other 221 pages suck.

Will. You. Stop.

Suddenly I’m transported to the movie opening, walking down the red carpet in some badass Jimmy Choos and something floor-length and understated. I’ve been working out. I’ve gotten Botox–but it’s really well done–no one can even tell.

No, wait. There I am–watching Fox news and there are a half-dozen sign-waving, polyester-clad folks in front of Grace United Baptist Church in Duck Falls, Arkansas. They’re burning my book. It’s been banned at two dozen libraries already.

Just. Calm. Down.

Even if I ever managed to ever catch the fancy of some audacious, up-and-coming literary agent, what publisher is going to tangle with something so…um…unapologetic?

Stranger things have happened. Best not to get snarky, but there are worse things than publishing something honest and plausible. Because HitList is true, or it could be and for all you know, it’s happening in the high school across town or a river town in Iowa. You’ll see it on the news tonight. Someone may as well tell the story; may as well be me.

Tossed aside, passed out in the gutter, left for dead. But the Editor Guy thinks my baby is beautiful. And maybe she is.

Enough for now, I have to go–I have work to do!


  1. Go. Find an new editor. Stop doubting yourself. You write wonderfully! Your book will sell and become a movie.

    1. Gah! I’m breaking out in hives. I think my fear of success is bigger than my fear of failure. But yes, must find editor. Thanks Gene 🙂

  2. Zen

    Paranoia is normal with authors, and remember, you can’t expect everyone to like your book! Maybe something came up in that editor’s life and they couldn’t continue, you never know! You could always ask them (unless you already did?).

    1. To be fair, Editor Guy only quit the critique and suggested we move on to line editing. Here’s the paranoid part: Is he just trying to upsell me? Cause that’s where it gets pricey.

      If writers ARE paranoid, maybe I’m normal after all…

  3. Sharon

    Yes, but do you have to find a new editor? It sounds like he quit because he didn’t think editing work was needed because your literary baby is so beautiful. Dump fear of success in the first ravine you find. You rock!

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Editor Guy just quit the critique. He said we could skip that step and he gave me a quote for line editing. Ahem, that’s where it gets expensive.

      I believe I need professional editing before submitting it, in order to give it the best possible chance. But should I shell out big bucks? Exactly how vain am I? What an insane investment on something so tenuous and unlikely… What are the odds of publishing any given book, like one in one thousand?

      And what if publishers want their own favorite editor’s flavor and I should just worry about the proofreading?

      Too much to process and I’m clueless.

  4. Lori

    Your babcy is beautiful! Go after this with all you’ve got! If you don’t, you will always kick yourself and wonder “what if……”

    1. You make a good point…

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