Monday, November 19, 2012

Catching Up with Annie Seaton


Today, we have the fabulous Annie Seaton here with us. Annie is the author of Holiday Affair, which has been on the Amazon bestseller lists (both in the US and the UK!) for quite some time. She’s multitalented, having also written the excellent steampunk novel Winter of the Passion Flower and the paranormal page-turner Blind Lust.

Since retiring from teaching,  Annie has also worked as a freelance editor, and still does so when time allows. Many of her clients went ahead and got published. I was lucky to be one of them. J

Now, some questions I’ve always wanted to ask…

·         What are the most common mistakes romance writers make nowadays, craft-wise?

There are some errors that are quite common to many authors—both new and multi-published. I suppose the two that stand out for me are the use of the word ‘that’ as a filler word and the use of filtering.

Example 1: She opened the door that led to the garden.  Corrected to: She opened the door leading to the garden

Example 2:  The dog dropped the bone THAT his master had thrown.         

The second one I really am conscious of is filtering. That is, when the reader is pulled out of the head of the person whose eyes they are looking through by the use of words such as felt, made, watched.


Example 1. She felt the heat in her cheeks. 

Corrected: Her cheeks flared with heat.

Example 2: He watched as she crossed the room to him.

Corrected: Her hips swayed as she crossed the room to him


So removing filtering is removing the telling of how the person felt or what they saw, and shows what they are feeling or what they could see.

It is most often described as Show vs Tell and it is one of the most important things to watch when writing a great story.
·         How important is an editor for someone who’s self-publishing?

All I will say here it is one hundred percent essential!

·         Should you shut up your inner editor for the sake of getting words on the page?

LOL, Carmen. You have been reading my blog post on this.  ( It really depends on the individual writer. Sometimes you can spend too much time polishing to the detriment of productivity and word count for the day.

·         Or should you listen to it and have less work later?

But, self reflection is a marvelous thing! Instead of giving up and bemoaning this constant nagging voice, take control and analyze the changes you do make when your inner editor won’t let go. What will you find?  Scenes will be stronger and the plot will tighten. Dialogue will improve. Reading back over your changes, hopefully you will see your inner editor has stepped in, in a timely fashion and saved you hours of editing at the end. So a good lesson. The more you write, the more savvy you become when dealing with that pesky inner editor.


·         Do you see any current trend on romance novels you’d like to share?

I watch the release of new romances with great interest and I read widely across many tropes. I can see both ends of the spectrum—the books where a billionaire falls in love with the heroine; and the sweet family books where the development of love and the use of secondary characters in warm family environments, rounds out the story. I love reading both!

·         You worked for an e-publisher. For all of us who haven’t, could you please guide us through the process of how editors acquire a book?

Books are sent to the acquiring editor personally or to the general address for the publisher. The editor generally reads the whole book and looks at the story, the consistency of the plot and the development of characters.  Is the story engaging?

Even if there are craft issues, if it is a great story it will be sent back with a request to revise certain issues and resubmit. If it is considered suitable for the publisher and the line, it will be recommended for contract.

·         Most of your clients have gotten published. What’s your secret?

Hmmm. That’s a hard one.

From the craft perspective, I would say it my love for reading over many years. I am  extremely conscious of grammar, punctuation and spelling and that  means I will always return a manuscript to the author post edits in a structurally perfect form. From a voice point of view, I am extremely conscious of keeping the author’s unique voice and not changing it. If readers want my voice, they will read Annie Seaton books. Voice is unique to every author and that is the key to a good editor. Keep the author’s voice!


Annie, thank you so much for stopping by and catching up! :)

My pleasure. I am always excited about taking on new editing clients. When they get the ‘call’, I am just as excited as they are. I have made friends all over the world through my editing including Carmen!

Connect with Annie:



  1. Wonderful post full of vital information for aspiring authors.

    You are a true talent Annie.

  2. Hi Annie and Carmen,

    I loved this post, Annie. I'm taking all this great information in. I automatically edit stuff all the time. A writer friend pubbed her novel independently on Amazon. On reading it, published and all that it was I noticed 'correctable stuff'. She had written something like 'Mary was a Shop Assistant' when 'Mary was a shop assistant' was what I'd have written. So being the helpful person/interfering busybody that I am, I mailed her. I was quite surprised when she returned my mail with a curt 'no, the capitals are quite correct' and went on to list all the people to whom she'd shown her book to who had loved it and never said anything negative. She also added that she'd quite understand if I didn't want to continue reading the book. She has published more short stories than I have, so I took it that she knew what she was talking about.

    That'll teach me to keep my mouth shut in future unless asked for my opinion. But tell me Annie, was I correct about the capitals or was I wrong?

  3. You were absolutely correct, Maria! It is shop assistant. I believe the opportunity for authors to self publish is wonderful. But it is absolutely critical to ensure the work is error free and structurally correct. I have had my first hands on self publishing experience this week, editing an erotic contemporary romance for a colleague. We deliberated over every letter of the 44,000 words! Watch out for Red Hot by Ann B. Harrison!

    1. Oh, I will thanks. And thanks for the reassurance.

  4. Annie, Carmen, thanks for a great blog post.

    I'd hoped working with beta readers and self-editing numerous times would be enough when I'm preparing to self-publish, but there's still too much room for fixable errors. Also, beta readers (especially writer friends!) will find the typos, missed words, and the like but seem less likely to comment on the bigger structural story stuff which is where I suspect I really need the help!

    Think I'll be contacting you for a quotation, Annie...

    1. Hey Autumn,

      Thank you for stopping by.
      I agree with you; also, sometimes our beta readers have read it so many times they don't catch every typo anymore.
      Hope you're having a great day!

  5. Good Tips!

    Those darned filtering words--got a craft book on Deep PoV the other day and that's the bit that has me somewhat confounded. I know how to fix it in theory, but I can't yet identify *all* the filtering words. Some of those little stinkers keep slipping past me, I'm sure.

    1. Hey Amalie!
      HUGE congrats on getting the full request from M&B! I've been meaning to send you a PM! Well done, I'll keep my fingers crossed.

      Please share the name of the Deep PoV book :) Pretty please? lol

      Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving! :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Autumn, I would love to help. You are right. Beta readers and friends are fabulous but each manuscript definitely needs a professional eye! Flick me an email if you would like to chat.
    P.S. I had to remove my first reply because I didn't edit it and had a typo! LOL

    1. Lol! Annie! You edited an editor's comment?

      Hi Carmon!

      Thanks for a lovely post Annie and Carmon!

  8. Fab post, and I've already got Annie lined up for my self-pubbed series as soon as the first title is ready :-D