“I Do Not Have to Put Up With Editors Making Demands on Me”

“No way I need an editor.”

Anne Rice, author of the best-selling series of novels The Vampire Chronicles, got some negative Amazon.com feedback when her novel Blood Canticle was published in 2004. A New York Times story by Sarah Lyall said:

She reacted to the criticism with shock and horror….She posted a blistering 1,200 word defense of her book on the Amazon site….”Your stupid, arrogant assumptions about me and what I’m doing are slander,” she wrote…..Nor was she thrilled by the suggestion…that “Blood Canticle” might have benefited from some tough love. “Anne, you really should have an editor, or at least someone that would read your book before you send it off to print,” one reviewer wrote.

No way, Ms. Rice replied.

“I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself,” she wrote. “I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me.”

In a telephone interview, Ms. Rice elaborated on the point.

“People who find fault and problems with my books tend to say, ‘She needs an editor,”‘ Ms. Rice said. “When a person writes with such care and goes over and over a manuscript and wants every word to be perfect, it’s very frustrating.”

She added: “When you take home a CD of Pavarotti or Marilyn Horne, you don’t want to hear another voice blended in. I feel the same way about Hemingway. If I read it, I don’t want to read a new edited version.”…

An executive at a rival publishing house, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said publishers often took a hands-off editorial approach with stars like Ms. Rice and Stephen King, another prolific, best-selling author, particularly as their careers matured. “Ultimately it’s the author’s book,” the executive said. “With an author of a certain stature, they’re the artist; we’re the amanuensis.”

Comments

  1. Rice sure didn’t know much about how music CDs are recorded and edited. I wonder if her thoughts on editing have changed (or, let’s be honest, matured) in the past 14 years.

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