Stages of Grief

February of 2002, I became one of the luckiest people in the LDS publishing market: I got Angela as my editor. She became my guide through the labyrinth of getting my manuscripts to print. She’s the one who called me to say my first book was accepted, and she’s been with me ever since, through all of my books.

Over the last five and a half years, she’s been patient with barrages of my idiot questions. Even more impressive, she’s put up with my utter control-freak behavior, especially when I vent her direction about people trying to mess with my voice or my punctuation (“people” is not her. Angela doesn’t do those things, but she's certainly heard me gripe about them).

Angela is the consummate cheerleader, guide, and advocate.

Most importantly, she’s a dear friend.

A few months ago I jokingly told her that while she’s always spot-on with her editorial eagle eye, sometimes I have issues with freelance editors’ suggestions. Her response was, “Well then, I’d better never leave and go freelance.”

Ha ha, very funny, I thought.

Then a panic attack gripped my chest.

The very fact that she was hinting about leaving made me realize that some day she might do just that. Probably would. Relatively soon. Over the last few months, I’ve been more worried about such an event transpiring.

What would I do without Angela? She can spot a character motivation hole a mile away. She can diagnose a plot's ailment with precision, but never, ever tells me how to fix it. Instead she gives several excellent ideas for a jumping off point, then I figure out a fix. If I’m in a panic over a deadline or some other issue, she’s the one who investigates the problem and tracks down a solution.

Without her, I’d be lost.

So it was with great sadness this week that I read Angela’s official message that she would be leaving Covenant as a full-time editor.

Actually, the sadness didn’t kick in right away, because I quickly entered the first stage of grief: denial. No way. She’s not gone. I’ll still get one more book through the pipeline before she goes. I have to. She can’t abandon me.

After that I skipped over the second stage, anger (how could anyone be angry with Angela?) and entered stage three: depression. My publishing life is over. I’ll never manage to put out a decent book again, because Angela won’t be at the helm. Sniff. Sob. Wail.

Stage four, bargaining, entered the picture. I know there’s no way to get her to go back to work; she has her own life to worry about. But I’ll almost certainly beg and plead to have Angela as my freelance editor in the future, and if bribing with chocolate works, consider it done. If she freelances, then she’s still sort of my editor, right?

As for the final stage, acceptance, I’m not quite there yet. I’m still bouncing between denial, depression, and bargaining. I’ll have to find acceptance soon, because in a few months I’ll be beginning the publishing process again when I turn in another manuscript.

The silver lining in all this is that I’ve been handed off to Kirk, who is an excellent editor in his own right. At that news, I let out a breath of relief, then did a jig, feeling as if I had been handed a lifeline. I’ve heard great things about Kirk as an editor, and I’ve met him a couple of times. I think we’ll get along great.

However, I can’t help but feel a little bad for him. Poor guy has no idea what he’s in for. Brace yourself, Kirk. I’ll try not to get too manic on you.

Comments

Josi said…
I don't know Angela, even though I've heard a lot of great things about her, but I have met Kirk. I liked him, and I think you'll like him too. I even thing he likes chocolate ;-)

I'm sorry though. It is hard when people shift, but you'll do great and think of how much Kirk will learn about grammar and punctuation now!
wornoutwoman said…
You are so blessed to even have a publisher/editor! I am amazed for you and happy you have Kirk now too.
I've gotten so many rejection letters from my query letters that I can't even count them! I know one day I'm due a yes!!!
I think everyone will miss Angela. Hopefully she'll still stay involved!
Anne Bradshaw said…
Angela sounds like one superb editor. What a blessing you've had, working with her.
Julie Wright said…
I am sad for you. Angela is awesome in every way. I'm sad for me too since I really really like her and was looking forward to getting to work with her. :(
Total bummer! Where is she going to?
At least you were blessed to have one consistent editor for so long.
samiam said…
My condolences Annette! I'm like Anne where I hate to have people change in my life, but I guess that is how we grow!
Annette Lyon said…
wornoutwoman, I am very aware of how lucky I am! I'm truly fortunate to have a publisher like I do, not to mention having one terrific editor for five books.

Janette, She's not going to another publisher. As far as I know, she'll just be doing freelance work from home.

Thanks for all the condolences!
Amber said…
I'm sorry!! I hope all will continue to go well. Most of all I want to know more about this 'chocolate show'.
Luisa Perkins said…
Oooh, bummer! I'm sure you'll be in good hands, though.
Michele Holmes said…
I've only had Angela as my editor for one book---but I am in mourning too. She was extremely patient with me, and she knew exactly what the manuscript needed and how to get it out of me. She's been my motivation to get this next book done, and I'm so sad now that she's left Covenant just when I'd finally found someone who wanted to publish my stories.

Wornoutwoman, hang in there. I've been there and done that for a very long time. Persistence eventually pays off. But, as I still receive rejection letters, I haven't forgotten how difficult a road it is.

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