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The Sometimes-Glamorous Life of the Editor

Editing can be a pretty lonely business. For the most part, it means sitting in a room by yourself, in front of a computer screen, for hours upon hours. Depending on the length of the book, it can take weeks to edit a project and days more to formulate your thoughts into coherent, constructive criticism. Once you’ve sent your edits to the author, you might hear back right away with a confirmation that they received your email, follow-up questions to your edits, and maybe even a note of thanks (always nice to hear!).

But it’s pretty rare nowadays to get to meet your authors in person, especially outside of major industry conferences. So it was with considerable excitement that I attended the book release party for a book I edited: Zapata by Harper McDavid.

Touchstone Editing editor Jennifer (Levine) London with author of romantic thriller Zapata Harper McDavid
Zapata is a romantic thriller about Avery, an engineer who gets kidnapped by an infamous drug cartel and taken across the border to Mexico. Luckily for her, the cartel’s attorney, Alejandro, comes to her rescue, and hijinks (and romance) ensue as they try to escape the cartel and get Avery home safely. I had a blast editing this book (I mean, with that kind of a plot, how could I not?), and it was with no surprise that I heard from Harper that the book had won contest after contest (at least six, last she updated me) and had been accepted for publication.

So when Harper emailed me last month to invite me to her book release party, I was over the moon. Meeting her in person would have been exciting no matter what, but it was even more exciting to celebrate this milestone with her. Of course I would be there!

Author Harper McDavid reading from her romantic thriller novel Zapata
It was intimidating to walk into a bar/cafĂ© filled with dozens of people who all already seemed to know each other. But as soon as I met Harper, she made me feel welcome. It was a surreal experience, meeting another writer from her writing group, who exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, you’re the editor!” And it was so much fun meeting Harper’s non-writer friends, who wanted to know what in the world an editor even did. Harper did a brief reading, signed some books, and even paused to take a picture with me.

I couldn’t be happier for Harper about her book’s success—or more grateful that she included me in the festivities! Check out Zapata if you get the chance, and look out for book two in the series at some point soon.

And, hey: maybe invite your editor to your release party. You never know when she’ll show up!

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