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Mindy Klasky
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Mindy Klasky   Mindy Klasky is the bestselling and award-winning author of the Glasswrights' Guild series (The Glasswrights'... Apprentice, Progress, Journeyman, Test, and Master), the Jane Madison series (Girl's Guide To Witchcraft, Sorcery and the Single Girl, and Magic and the Modern Girl), and the As You Wish series (How Not to Make a Wish, When Good Wishes Go Bad, and To Wish or Not to Wish).

Buy Mindy Klasky's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 02/04/2010 with the following authors:
  • Speculative Fiction
    • Mary Pope Osborne (#1 NYT bestselling Magic Tree House series, former Authors Guild president, 53 million books sold)
    • Cory Doctorow (NYT bestselling Little Brother and Makers, Boing Boing blog, top 10 Forbes web celebs)
    • Mindy Klasky (bestselling and award-winning Glasswrights, Jane Madison, and As You Wish series)
    • Garth Nix (NYT bestselling Old Kingdom, The Seventh Tower, and Keys to the Kingdom series, 5 million sold)
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Mindy Klasky

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

Note that you can also listen to this while you read it.

Matthew Peterson: Let me ask you a bonus question here.

Mindy Klasky: Mm hmm.

Matthew Peterson: I hear that you do some freelance editing on the side. I don’t know how you get time for that, but . . . [laughs] I actually paid a freelance editor to look at my book, Paraworld Zero, before I found a publisher. And so that’s why I’m curious about this. What is something an author should look for if they’re going to hire a freelance editor?

Mindy Klasky: It’s important to make sure that the editor that you’re working with is familiar with the genre that you are writing in. Just the other day, I had a client send me a sample chapter of her work. And she was writing historical romance without any paranormal element, without any fantastic element. And in reading through it, at first I thought that I was critiquing a paranormal piece. And there were many parts of the narration, things like “the tiger inside her fought to be free,” and I thought that this was a woman who had a tiger spirit that had possessed her.

Matthew Peterson: [laughs]

Mindy Klasky: And so in order for the author and the editor to be on the same wave length, it’s important that they both know up-front what genres they’re working with and how they want that to move forward. I have also found it invaluable to do a sort of trial run with my authors. I read the first 5,000 words of their novel and provide them with my critique, and then we both mutually decided whether it makes sense for us to go forward working together.

Matthew Peterson: Mm, okay.

Mindy Klasky: There are some writers who are really not yet at a stage where their work is publishable, and they can take 5,000 words worth of criticism and harness it into something phenomenal; whereas, spending the time and the money for a full edit really doesn’t make sense at that point of their career.

Matthew Peterson: Now a lot of people who are listening to this are probably thinking, “Doesn’t the publisher get an editor?” So tell us why do you think an unpublished author might want to consider hiring a freelance editor?

Mindy Klasky: Certainly the publisher does have editors, and that is ultimately every author’s goal: to secure an outside disinterested editor who is going to make their work their best work that it can be. In the extraordinarily competitive world that we face today, there are some writers who are on the cusp of being publishable, who have not yet had a chance to absolutely perfect their writing in the way that professional editors in New York or in LA are going to be expecting. So hiring an editor is sort of the last step, the last polish for many almost publishable authors to get them over that last hill on their way to professional publication.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, that was my reasoning for doing it. Because I wanted just that little edge. And I’m a perfectionist too. [laughs]

Mindy Klasky: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: And then last question, ‘cause I think everybody’s wondering this too. What are some of the costs involved in hiring a freelance editor?

Mindy Klasky: Different editors charge in different ways. Some of us charge by the time that we spend reading work. Some of us charge by the word or by the page. I have found that it is . . . it makes more sense to charge by the word, which ultimately adds up to by the page. I used to work as a lawyer, and I am very accustomed to hourly billing and know how that can function, but I also know that there’s a tremendous amount of wiggle room there, where a client expects that they’re going to be paying for an hour of time which ends up being five hours of time, and there are hurt feelings all along the way. And so I think that it is more fair and more predictable up front to have a set price. Different editors vary in what they charge. I know editors who charge as little as $25 to review, say 5,000 words. I know other editors who charge as much as $250 for the same amount. My rate is somewhere in between there.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. And there’s different editings you can do. There can be just a normal copyedit, where you’re looking for grammar and punctuation and stuff. . .

Mindy Klasky: Absolutely.

Matthew Peterson: . . . and then there’s a deep edit, so there’s different variations of the editing, and you can pay accordingly for those.

Mindy Klasky: And there are definitely some authors who want editors to take the overall view. Is the character arc advancing the way it should? And there are some authors who want a very, very detailed line reading, including a grammatical edit.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah. That was me. [laughs] Like I said, I’m a perfectionist. I went for the whole thing. [laughs]

Mindy Klasky: And that’s what I do with most of my clients. And I find that while sometimes the authors and I disagree when we start to talk, we both end up feeling that the story has become a better story along the way.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah.

Extra Material That was Cut from the Show Because of Time Constraints

Note that you can also listen to this while you read it (you'll need to fast forward past the bonus questions).

Mindy Klasky: I was fascinated by the idea of people being born into a specific cast and being limited in their life choices by the cast they were born into but having some flexibility if you were wealthy enough or accomplished enough to move between the casts.

Matthew Peterson: Oh.

Mindy Klasky: So in the Glasswrights’ Apprentice, the main character goes through each of the casts of her society using her skills to masquerade as different types of people. And I just found myself falling in love with this very intricate society. There are 1,000 gods, each of whom can be prayed to for specific areas of control and with the social cast structure.

* * * * * * * * * *

Mindy Klasky: I had done so much reading within the fantasy genre that it had never really occurred to me the sort of power rush that you get when you do get to create your own world and create your own magical system and structure.

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