Whether you’re working through a publisher who assigns you an editor, or whether you are self-pubbing and hired an editor yourself (please, please don’t skip getting a professional editor!), it’s important to develop a relationship that works. Trust, communication, a common understanding of the story, an acceptance that you both want to make this story the best it can be. Here are the points listed in the article about author etiquette in working with an editor, and my own take on them. (Text in quotes is directly from the article.)
- Be timely. Your editor is juggling multiple projects. (Really good editors are in demand.) Help keep your book on schedule by meeting your date commitments—or promptly letting the editor know if there’s a delay.
- Be available. Your editor works with you, which means being able to get in touch with you and get responses in a reasonable time, so the editing task can keep moving forward.
- Be honest. Just as the editor should be honest in feedback and advice, you need to communicate honestly in your responses to the edits. After, of course, you’ve had time to consider them and get over the initial shock. 😉 Be calm and professional and thoughtful in dealing with your editor. “But always remember that it’s your book. Unless it’s regarding black-and-white grammatical issues, editors aren’t telling you what to do. Rather, they’re making knowledgeable and well-intentioned suggestions they believe will make your book better.”
- Be patient. Good editing takes time, and your editor has other tasks. An editor will read through the manuscript several times, and often wants to let it percolate in her/his brain before sending feedback.
- Be open. Honestly consider your editor’s suggestions. Your tendency may be to protect your “baby” from criticism, but that won’t improve the work nor help you become a better writer. You are getting feedback from a skilled professional, so take it seriously. Yes, you get to sob hysterically on first reading if necessary. But for no more than two days—then get yourself in hand, take a positive view, and get going with the revisions.
“If you’re timely, available, honest, patient, and open—and if you’ve written the best manuscript you can—you will endear yourself to your book editor.”
And write a great story! Editors love to read–it makes an editor incredibly happy to work on a book she is enjoying.
Of course, sending chocolate always encourages your editor to think well of you. 😉
So, authors, what is your best tip to other writers for getting the most out of the partnership with an editor? Any editors reading this blog? If so, do you agree with the above advice, or have anything to add?