The bittersweet smell of success

Cornerstones is a literary consultancy. I learned an enormous amount on one of their weekend courses and used their manuscript appraisal service to help polish my novel, Once Removed. Kathryn kindly gave me permission to share this post from their blog,

At Cornerstones there’s nothing that gives us more happiness than placing our authors with agents and seeing them go on to get a publishing deal. Whilst what we do is rewarding in so many ways – helping authors find their way forward when they’ve got stuck with a story, shaping promising manuscripts into something that’s really dazzling – publication is everybody’s long term goal and it’s what we’re all working towards. So why do we always feel kind of sad when it happens?

It’s like saying goodbye after a long journey you’ve made with strangers who’ve become friends. It’s like handing over your child at the first day of school and knowing you won’t play such a big part in their life from here on in. It’s like the end of a love affair.

I think most people in the industry feel the same way to some degree – and authors will certainly know what I’m talking about. When you work on a manuscript for a long time it feels like you’ve poured a lot of yourself into it. You’ve got to know the characters and the plot so well you dream about them. You can’t help but think of it as yours.

But the crux of what we do is preparing authors for the publishing arena; for starting a career in writing. And so much of that is about learning to self-edit, perfecting those independent editorial skills that will stand you in good stead throughout your writing life. When authors first come to us it’s because they’re looking for advice on these techniques; putting their manuscript through the editorial process is often the start of a learning curve that can last months or years. And the end goal of that process is for an author to go out into the publishing world on their own two feet, without needing our help any more.

With every successful edit, a manuscript (and its author) becomes bolder and more confident and seeing that happen is the most rewarding part of all. But it’s also kind of sad to know that if the process is working then each edit is bringing us closer to the moment when we have to say goodbye.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cathie Dunn (@cathiedunn)
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 11:08:49

    So very true. Every time you have a book published, it’s a ‘goodbye’ moment. You’re sending it into the big wide world, proud and a little scared, to thrive or to stumble through the nettles. Part of you is gone with it. A bittersweet moment indeed.

    Then you get into your next story, and the process starts all over again.

    A great post.


  2. princessfluffyboots
    Jul 13, 2012 @ 11:09:33

    It’s very interesting to see it from the other perspective. I think I always assumed that to the other people involved in the editing/publishing process it wasn’t a personal thing, that it was just another lot of words on a page whereas to me it’s alike to baring your soul & hoping people don’t trample your dreams.
    Very interesting post as always. 🙂


    • kimmwalker
      Jul 13, 2012 @ 11:21:18

      Thank you. I was very impressed with the people at Cornerstones. They are very supportive even long after you’ve finished with their services. They even tweeted about my book, Once Removed, this morning and were happy to help with my new blog. And I can’t say enough good things about the folks at Crooked {Cat} Publishing :o)


  3. yasminselena
    Jul 14, 2012 @ 09:28:28

    Cornerstones sound like a literary agency with their heart in the right place : )


  4. Leonard Marks
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 21:03:37

    great post


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