As an editor, my passion is words: the etymology of them, the versatility of them, the incredible ability of these little squiggles to explain the complexities of the world. Writers and editors alike experience a feeling of sublime joy after working on a paragraph or even a sentence that flows succinctly and poetically, the words connecting and enhancing each other until a clear picture is painted in the mind of the reader. Having recently learned the rudiments of the ukulele, I can liken this to the delight one feels on playing a particularly tricky chord sequence and getting all your fingers in the right place at the right time!
Imagine then how good it feels to work on a story for months – sometimes years – and ultimately, to hold the published book in your hands. There’s nothing quite like it and what’s more, when someone reads it and tells you that they identified with the characters or loved the ending – well, that utterly justifies all the hard work. I once worked with a writer who broke down in tears when I started discussing her main protagonist, ‘Martha’. I was a little shaken until I realised they were tears of joy. “It’s like you’re talking about my family,” she sniffed. “For years, these people have only existed for me, and now you’re mentioning their names, they’ve suddenly come alive!”
We’ve been working with a writer who recently published his book to rave reviews and yesterday, he wrote an eloquent and heartfelt testimonial to thank us for our support. But what fascinated me most was the sequence of events that led to us working together in the first place, because they were all motivated by passion. When I founded The Write Factor, one of my aims was to find and publish new talent – to give great writers a leg-up onto the publishing ladder, and to date we’ve published two excellent books, The 07.45 and more recently Eithe’s Way which showcase previously unpublished work. Rhian Waller, a very motivated and gifted young author who wrote Eithe’s Way, was interviewed by BBC Radio Wales about her book and she mentioned The Write Factor and our passion for books.
In his testimonial our client, Steve Howell, mentioned how his ears pricked-up when he heard Rhian on the radio talking about us, because having finished his own novel and having sent it to a dozen or more agents and publishers to no avail, he was at a loss as to how to get his book published – and of course, that’s our passion. Now, his book is climbing up the Amazon listings and Steve himself is being interviewed on the radio about Over The Line. What a wonderful series of events.
Before founding The Write Factor I worked for many years in the magazine industry, and one of my tasks was to read and assess potential articles for publication. What a great job you may think (and it was) although finding ways to gently but honestly tell writers that their work wasn’t quite right for the magazine was never easy. What I always did though was take the time to send feedback; to suggest ways the piece could be improved, why certain sections didn’t work and other potential routes to publication. The response was incredible: “I can’t thank you enough,” or “You’re the first person to take my work seriously,” or “You’ve changed my life”. Wow, I thought, I LOVE doing this! And the seeds of a business were planted in my mind.
A few years later, I told a friend about my plan to set-up The Write Factor. She looked at me askance. “But Lorna, nobody’s going to pay to be told their book needs editing!” Her doubts unsettled me but I recalled the response I had from writers I’d helped in the past and knew in my heart that this was what I wanted to do. Passion is a wonderful motivator – if you love it, do it and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible.
Currently Listening to: Invisible Conga People – Can’t Feel My Knees