I noticed on your site that you include services for fiction, non fiction and full academic. Which do you find the hardest to work with?
Daniel: Fiction tends to be more lenient and academic is more tedious but I think non-fiction is the hardest to work with. When editing I look at content as well as context and if I have not previously experienced the subject matter it is much more difficult to evaluate and respond to it. That makes non-fiction more difficult.
Which do you find most rewarding?
Daniel: > In general I find good fiction most rewarding but I often find it either poorly written or overwritten. In those cases it is not rewarding. As a life-long academic I really enjoy the final product of academic works even if I have had to edit 600-plus footnotes, (said with a chuckle).
How would a writer/Author benefit by using your editorial services versus using a firm or larger company for the same services?
Daniel: Plain and simple: An author benefits from using an editor. When using myself as the editor the client finds that I'm more willing to spend extra time without the increase in expense. I am willing to review the changes made following my editing, and again, that is often a reduced cost or even no cost. I re-read the manuscript several times before returning it to the author. Perhaps one of the most crucial details is that I generally have faster turn around times than other services. Two things that are good to bear in mind are that I don't have to accept any client work and I don't accept more workload than I can handle in a reasonable time.
Tell us why and/or how you started as an editor.
Daniel: I wish my English teachers could tell you I was going to be a good editor. They probably cringed at the very thought. I was the only male in typing class - and I attribute typing skills, and later high speed keyboarding, to continued exposure to the need for editing. Often I was typesetting or copy writing for employers. Through several businesses and employers I had to do the advertisement copy. Together they just added up to editing.
I published one of the first magazines on diskette, wrote columns, wrote some technical books, and did more and more editing on non-fiction and academic projects. In 1995 I was asked to be the Editor for a specialty magazine which I turned down to follow another project that was publishing in another venue. I ended up doing more editing in the long run.
More recently, I nearly opened a new publishing house that would have combined the best aspects of self publishing, independent publishing and traditional publishing. It is not only a mouthful but turned out to be more effort than I was willing to do on my own even when I had a tentative associate. That associate has since successfully published and is now constantly busy writing and promoting her works.
How long have you been an editor?
Daniel: > Technically I've been editing since high school more than 35 years ago. Professionally I've been editing both employed and freelance since 1991.
I know a great many writers both published and yet to be published, as I am sure you do as well. Some are excellent seasoned writers and others are not. Even if they are not, they tend to defend their work sometimes to the death. Do you ever get customers like that? The ones that want to know why their work was edited in such a way? How do you handle these trying times?
Daniel: There are several levels of editing that may come in to play in such a situation. As a freelance editor I show the client all suggested corrections and/or changes and then wait for them to respond. Based upon their responses I review my work and finalize my edits. This often is a process of exchanged emails and text files. Such situations generally concerns content and context. As an employed editor I am tasked with making the document reflect the author/company and follow guidelines to do so. However, as a Chief Editor, which I had the honor of being in 2010, I have a bit more leeway. At that level there is a contract that generally indicates that the publisher has final say. Many publishers seem to follow a standard that up to 30% can be changed without author approval. I've had a few instances where I had to exercise that editorial authority but generally aspiring authors are more willing to adjust the manuscript.
There is a point to remember: Unless under a publishing contract, the author has the final say on edits. On the other hand, a publisher never has to publish anything that does not meet their expectations. I prefer to work with the author or the client. You did ask about those "trying times" though, and the single greatest reason I require a bit more than half of the expected fee as a non-refundable deposit is for the few clients who go ballistic and refuse to pay for work done. My feeling is that the work is the author’s and my job is to help them polish it to its greatest shine but they can quit polishing at any time.
With so many venues for writers to publish such as Self Publishing, Independent Publishing, Traditional Publishing and many others, do any of these effect your work as an editor in any way? If so how does this affect your work?
Daniel: It is my feeling that a freelance editor has a greater range of clientele due to the self publishing mediums. I shudder to see some of the material published via self or independent because no effective editing was applied. As an example, my own typed responses to this interview - I'll probably kick myself later when I see errors in my text. I'd venture that 99.99% of writers can NOT edit there own work. I've often called it the finger-brain link. If I typed it I know it is correct and my brain will overlook mistakes in re-reads because it thinks it was done correctly the first time. And yet, even though the self publish mode and the independent publisher mode should create more clientele, writers are relying on critique partners, beta readers, or other struggling writers and assuming that meets the definition of having been edited. This is creating, especially with ebook's, a great many titles that no publisher would have been able to put into print. The cost of editing can be reasonable and the resultant manuscript much more attractive to a publisher or to a market buying your work.
As for Traditional Publishing, I am pleased that most adhere to standards, even if the standards seem different from one publisher to the next. This gives both author and editor a framework of quality to work toward. I am not presently employed by a traditional publisher so I am not editing within their workload. Their loads are tremendous and to me cause manuscript edits that are either generalized by over worked editors, or a bit less polish because unskilled editors are having to be used.
I noticed that you also compose music. I was able to listen to some of your compositions and wanted to thank you for sharing that with me.
Daniel: Gosh, I'd rather thank you for listening to some of them. If your readers are interested I have some of my compositions uploaded to http://danielhay.podbean.com as playable mp3 files. The available printed works are at http://danielhay.magcloud.com in soft cover format.
Writer, editor and composer, do you have any other artistic talents like drawing or painting?
Daniel: I wish I had the ability to draw and paint because most of my writing efforts are for MG. I need illustration in order to push on to some self publishing of my own works. Most traditional publishers provide their own illustrators for titles they agree to publish. My first two children's books were contracted with the publisher providing the illustrations. I have one story with illustrations I wanted to publish with three or four others but have yet to find illustrations for them.
I do have other talents - I am an excellent Tenor singer, Conductor and Performer. I’m a great gardener, excellent cook, and enjoy making fresh cheeses and yogurt. I sometimes make a living with my photography or head off to the mining claim to seek gold dust.
If you could only do one of these things which would it be?
Daniel: I am probably more successful in composing and have been at it longer than editing or writing. There are days when I can not write or compose and then I am really glad to have a client manuscript needing edits. Other days I fight to separate the music and text coming out of my head. I have written stories and mid-way been forced to stop and compose. Sometimes I have to close down my piece of music in order to get text on paper or into the computer. The two are not playing fairly with me. Editing, at least, treats me with more respect. It may interest you to know that even as I answer the interview questions I have two pieces of music, one story in progress, and one client edit file open on my laptop. For your answer, I believe I'd have to say composing would have to be the one thing if I could not do anything else.
Do you have any advice for new writers out there?
Daniel: New writers need to keep writing against all other odds. Use every source you can to improve you writing skills and to improve your manuscripts. Don't believe everything you read in social networks, but do keep those channels open because there is a wealth of information that will apply to your efforts. And, by all means, don't jump at self publishing without truly having your work edited.
Any advice for Editor wannabes?
Daniel: If you haven't had the responsibility for fully edited manuscripts then work for a publisher. If it is only a side-line for extra income I would recommend against doing it. Instead of a side-line, editing needs to be pulling at you and you have to want to do it. Some editors are not going to be authors just as some authors will never be editors.
A peeve I can't seem to get past is editors who make comments about client work in social media. A client's work is private until they release it. Do not discuss their work in the public forums or refer to readings and submissions by client name. Personally I don't release any client name ever - not even for referrals to obtain more work. Other editors do release client names upon request for new clients considering them - and that is okay if the first client is aware such may happen. But, again, never make comments in a public forum of any kind about any client manuscript or submissions if it bears any form of their identification, (i.e. Author names, pen names, screen names.)
An editor's name may never appear in a published work. It might, but don't anticipate that it will be there. Out of hundreds of manuscripts and books I have worked on I think my name has been put into print once. Don't be doing editing if you are looking to see your name in print. To get your name in print be the author or the illustrator.
How about advice for budding composers?
Daniel: I am primarily a classical composer which sounds different than a song writer. Yet, they both are the same in that they each are creating an expression via music. Composers are authors as authors are artists and artists are composers. We are creators of expression. I've always felt that I was making something tangible out of nothing. Just as with authors, you must keep doing it. Learn your craft and continue to improve it. There are means to garner exposure for your works. Such exposure is heavy on your time and effort but the pleasure of hearing somebody say, "I like that piece of music," is overwhelming.
Thank you so very much for sharing your time with us. As a writer myself, I know how time consuming these things can be. I would like to wish you the greatest of success. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Daniel: Rob, I am honored that anybody has an interest in my views so the thanks are all mine. If any of your readers need to talk with me you can have them email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can catch me on Twitter as @jesterhay
Here are some helpful links to Daniel’s sites of interests, and should you use Twitter it would be in your best interests to follow Daniel and get to know him. If you see him on Twitter, give him thanks again for sharing his time with us. Until next time, write on!
Daniel J Hay - Composer https://sites.google.com/site/danielhaycomposer/
Daniel J Hay - Editor https://sites.google.com/site/danielhayeditor/
My Blog -- PeriODDically... http://haydanielhay.blogspot.com a periodic link to my universe.