This week I was involved with several clients. Each one is at a different stage in his or her development as an author. It's fascinating to me to see how -- after a humongous amount of hard, painful digging -- the client eventually unearths hidden treasures that are transformed into the heart and soul of a book.
It's fun for me to participate in the client's process of becoming an author, by batting ideas back and forth -- "How about this?" "Could I say it this way?" "Is this character believable?"
But I see my role with authors as more than a copyeditor/proofreader/promotional copywriter. I'm also a sounding board, a cheerleader, a confidante, and a reality check when their spirits are low and they're puzzled about what to do next.
I'm amazed at how diverse my clients' projects are! One is writing blog posts for her Web site about the intricate, often maddening process of bringing her Young Adult fantasy manuscript to life as a book. Through her posts, she's teaching novice and would-be writers about the patience and self-trust involved in making all the necessary decisions -- everything from securing a trademark to creating a Facebook fan page.
Another client has asked me to go through his romance novel and make sure that all the song lyrics and magazine articles he's mentioned have the proper crediting. This is a tedious task, but absolutely essential if the author is to "stay legal."
With a third client, the challenge of the day was to come up with a zingy, memorable title and subtitle for her book. We ran through a lot of possibilities, and it seems she's zeroing in on the ones that "resonate" with her.
Each talented author is at a different starting point. I love working with them, starting wherever they are in the creative process, and then watching them glow as their books get out into the world.
Start where you are. Do what you can. Use what you have. -- Tennis pro, social activist Arthur Ashe (1943-1993)