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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Author Elise Hepner on Learning from Your Editor

Hello Fellow Writers!

Please welcome multi-published erotica author Elise Hepner, who has some great stuff to say about the editing process!


Almost every writer comes to a new publisher with some kind of naiveté revolving around either their experience, how things will work, sales, etc. It could be anything in the world. But nothing is as it seems—and most of time, especially in my case, that’s a good thing.

When I first signed my contract with Ellora’s Cave for Party Games I was under the cocky impression that I had reached the big time so learning, psh, I didn’t need any more of that! Oh, how wrong I was, how very, very wrong. One of the lessons I learned at my wonderful editor’s hands was that a manuscript can always be picked over one more time, tightened, plucked and “ready-to-go” is simply an expression used when an author has done every bit of picking they can do without going in reverse and writing the whole manuscript all over again. Which, I’m sure, can happen.

But, man, did I learn a lot about myself in my writing—and a heck of a lot about grammar I hadn’t thought of since elementary school. Simple tweaks of moving one word from one part of the sentence to the other changed the landscape of my whole story. Could I have done that by myself? Not with my absolutely stubborn resolution for thinking my story was done, done, done. Having my editor there was like recruiting the world’s best Olympic coach for some super epic sport who just keep pushing for me to go harder, go bigger, or go home.

I can’t say I loved every minute of it. But now I look back on my baby published to Ellora’s Cave and I have a huge amount of pride and gratitude to my editor who encouraged me to make subtle changes that didn’t seem to make a difference. Now I know the differences and I can see them in action. They’ve also been put on my editing checklist for good—and there’s extra space for more awesome insights from my editor.

Because, now that I’m not clinging to some silly hope that my MS will get accepted, nothing will be changed, and it’ll just pop up for sale—well, I almost relish those changes. Why settle for silver when you could go for the gold? Just drop all expectations and go in with an open mind and you’ll be better for it. No one’s perfect. You hear it a lot, but when you get signed with your dream publisher little pieces of advice don’t seem to matter in the face of your accomplishment. Just remember to take a second, reign yourself back, and accept that this isn’t your last step.

This is only your first step in a long career of running over hurdles—and you’ll learn to love every minute of it.

Here's the Blurb for Elise's hot new release, Party Games:

William’s boring lovemaking leaves Catherine unsatisfied. Harboring fantasies she can’t put into words, she longs for a sexual voice but finds herself too stifled by her proper social upbringing.

When a blackout hits their resort hotel and William proposes a sexy version of hide-and-seek, playtime takes on a whole new salacious meaning. Charlotte’s mind races with sexual scenarios. But even her fantasies fail to compare to the titillating adventure her husband has planned for her—with the help of another man.

Soon everything she knows about lust will be irreversibly changed—and she’ll moan for more.

Reader Advisory: Contains scorching-hot M/M/F sexual scenarios, a woman giving orders on an erotic high and slight trickery.

Buy Party Games here!

Author Bio:
Elise Hepner lives with her spastic cat, two hyperactive ferrets and a very supportive, slightly crazy husband. There is never a dull moment in the house, unless the caffeine runs out, which it never does. She’s a multi-published erotica author in both e-books and print as well as a few websites. She’s driven by her tea addiction and a tiny stuffed turtle her husband picked up from Disney World that sits on her desk and “supervises” her work.

She has let loose her storytelling addiction that has hung around since birth, along with a deep need for organization, which helps her write. When not writing (which is rare), she’s watching countless hours of reality television, playing the Sims or shopping online. Plus there’s that odd obsession with the color purple. Everything is purple. Visit Elise at her blog, A Willing Writer’s Blog: Erotica 1.0, to keep up with her naughty ramblings, random tidbits and future work.

Elise Hepner's Links:


  1. Elise and Shoshanna, thanks for some good insight that we can all always learn more! Totally understand that it's never good enough and that we can continue to edit forever but are they the 'right' edits!

    Thanks again!

  2. Actually, editors are the ones who taught me how to write but that was in the old days when they sent reams of suggestions to help out.

  3. Tonya, it's really quite a weird balance isn't it?

    JL, my editor is pretty good at the reams of edits things, she's awesome!

    Thanks for stopping by ladies!

  4. I agree- I also get reams of suggestions, LOL.

    Janet, I think with your experience your books have probably just gotten to the point where you no longer need too much editorial input! :)


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