It's always made me a tough critic. But the more I've gotten sucked into the publishing industry, the harder it's gotten for me to read published books because so often, I'm on the verged of being sucked in and then I think of something I would have edited differently.
Or even more often, I read a book and like it, but still think of what I would have edited differently.
This is, of course, what makes the exceptions, all that more wonderful. Books like a few that I read this year: You by Charles Benoit, Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott.
Then of course, there are my own clients' manuscripts which I edit and then send off into the world so an editor will hopefully fall in love with the manuscript just like I did, and then edit it some more.
The 2010 Statistics
Editorial Letters I Wrote for Clients: 129
Shortest Letter: 3 pages
Longest Letter: 14 pages
Average: 7 1/2 pages
Editorial Letters I Wrote for Colleagues: 23
(When I was reading something for them as a Second Read)
Now, I mentioned I read fast. It usually takes me about 3 1/2 hours to read a 300 page book, depending on the genre. But editorial letters are different. I might jot some notes down while I read, but actually thinking about everything, putting it onto paper and expressing my thoughts in a concise and coherent fashion (hopefully).
How Long Specifically?
The Fastest: Overnight, 7 hours total
The Longest: 13 Days
Average: 2-3 Days
Every agent I know, does the majority of their editing (read: all) at home. I've heard a lot of editors do their editing outside of the office too (And yes, their editing is much much better than mine).
The second fastest editorial letter I wrote, I tried to do it as an overnight job. I just started typing everything in an email. I did this for two reasons: we were on a time constraint and it was one of the best manuscripts I'd read. Ever. I figured, there weren't going to be many notes. So I set out and started typing.
I got about 75% finished before my brain started to feel like mush. So I went to sleep. The next morning, I finished typing everything up, gave the email a once over and sent it off to Unsuspecting Brilliant Writer.
Two days later, Unsuspecting Brilliant Writer, replied and said "Here's my revised version. I took those NINE SINGLE SPACED PAGES OF NOTES and revised."
I replied and said: "That was not nine pages of notes! Why do you lie so much?"
Unsuspecting (and Clever) Brilliant Writer replied with an attachment of said notes, copy and pasted into a word document. And yes, it was 9 pages, single spaced, 12 pt font.
I said "...."
And then I said to myself You turned around 9 pages in 2 days...are you sure you got everything?
But Unsuspecting and Brilliant Writer is...well, Brilliant, and did it beautifully.
Not exactly a cautionary tale, but still, something tells me I wasn't quite as concise in that letter as I should have been.