Small presses don’t have the reputation that larger presses do of having high editorial standards. But my experience with these presses, especially Regal House Publishing, the one that published my second novel, Curva Peligrosa, was revelatory.
Before submitting the manuscript to the press for its consideration. I’d been through it numerous times on my own, seeking to strengthen the narrative. I also had hired two different professional editors to read and review it. They made valuable suggestions, many of which I used as a basis for additional rewrites.
But I discovered a whole new level of revising in my interaction with my publisher/editor. She did one read through where she looked at overarching problems that should be addressed. Then I went through her second review that consisted largely of line editing. She had found many inconsistencies that are unavoidable in a 350-page work. She also made numerous suggestions that helped me to add important details or to deepen/streamline the narrative. It was an invaluable experience to have this kind of attentive and intelligent questioning of passages that I thought were complete.
Of course, I resisted some of her comments, and I didn’t act on all of her recommendations—maybe two thirds. Though she was deeply involved in the characters and action, it is my creation, and she didn’t know the book in the same way as I do. But, then, that’s my role as the author. Even so, the work is much stronger because of her involvement in it.
From this experience, I’ve discovered how valuable this kind of intensive editing can be. While I gave birth to the world I’ve created, it helps enormously to have a sensitive eye that can assist in the midwifery. I feel I received a higher caliber of help in this process than I might have if a large publishing house had purchased the book. Not only is there more clarity but seeing the characters/situations/settings through a sensitive reader’s eyes gives deeper insight into the work in general.
That wasn’t the final edit (a copyeditor looked closely at grammatical/typographical errors next after I went through it again on my own), but the process was more than illuminating. My publisher/editor’s reading raised the novel to another level, something not all published authors achieve.