Suzanne Bossert

Working with Authors

developmental editing

The Process

An author’s first meeting with me is simply a free-flowing conversation, a time of getting to know each other in order to explore resonance and fit for a productive working relationship. This conversation includes a deep dive into an author’s hopes, aspirations and challenges in writing, as well as my methods of potential support. 

In addition to the literary elements of good storytelling, I often work with authors to get past struggles with writer’s block, procrastination, perfectionism, disorganization or other roadblocks to starting and finishing a book. As one who has struggled with the vagaries of writer’s block myself, I am quite comfortable meeting my authors anywhere along the spectrum of a project. One asset of my particular background is that I am able to operate as a kind of spiritual director, a spiritual intuitive, even if it remains unspoken. That is, in working on a manuscript with a writer, I often sense openings in flow and follow my instincts (Spirit) to explore hunches with my author. 

As a result, often something akin to alchemy happens….. Ideas and questions and wonderings posed often cause something entirely new to emerge, but always within the control of the author. I place heavy emphasis on discernment, trust, and deep listening–to the author, myself, and to what I would call Spirit or muse. In this way, the process feels like midwifing–assisting the effort to bring forth something alive and beautiful into the world.

 

My POV

I bring open-ended curiosity to every encounter with a potential author, guided by a very simple set of questions: 

  1. Of all the stories steeping inside you, which one most passionately wants to emerge at this moment, AND
  2. Of all these potential ideas, which story does the world most want/need to hear at this particular time?


Although I can link up with authors at any stage of a manuscript, the sweet spot for me as editor is ground zero: the earliest conceptualization of a project. This includes choice of genre, audience, thematic arc and structure. I typically engage with authors along two tracks: the writing itself, and the “business plan” for a book, which is the proposal. 

The work unfolds through remote video meetings, sometimes weekly in the beginning, with frequency subsequently determined by stage of the manuscript. In between these meetings, work continues through editorial suggestions and discussions made through a shared Google Doc worksheet. 

Collaboration in this way feels like liminal space, and thus is fertile ground for new insights of beauty and depth. 

Have a proposal or book idea?I look forward to hearing from you!  Contact me at swoolston@wildhousepublications.com.

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

— Toni Morrison