Well, as I finish up the final round edits for Timeless Valentine, I'm left thinking about the author/editor relationship. I've heard several true horror stories from people in my RWA Chapter, about friends of theirs who are true divas. It makes me wonder, what propensity of the author population actually carries on in this fashion?

My relationships with my editors are smooth. If I have a question, I ask. They don't hesitate to answer. If they want me to change something, I consider what they are asking and weigh the question: "Do I want to be published, or do I want to be picky?"

Rarely does that take much considering. Therefore, when my editor asks me to change something, nine times out of ten I do so unquestioningly. If I have a hesitation, I try to discover what the editor is looking for, see if there's a middle ground without blowing it up into an issue. (Shoot! I get nervous even asking for further details, I'm certainly not going to bicker with someone who holds my book's fate in their hands.)

More often than not, the comment ends up being a moot point and either I change it without pause, or my editor decides it's not worth messing with.

I cannot imagine the relationship between author and editor being drastically different. Editors are here to help our books become better than what we already feel is "perfect". I can't imagine rooting my heels in and having trivial arguements just for the sake of maintaining every actual word I put in.

But I guess some folks don't feel that way. They feel the editor should be grateful to them, I suppose. Or something equally as full of drivel.

So, note to authors...

Folks, its in our best opinions to do what our editors want of us. We have to trust that our editors came to hold their position because of their knowledge. Questioning everything they want isn't the best way to make you look easy to work with. Pick your battles. Find out what is most important to you, and know what about your book you're unwilling to compromise on. If you can make every other correction the editor desires, and you politely challenge one issue, they are more likely to work with you than if you complain and groan about everything.

Edits aren't fun. Even editors know this. But folks, these folks aren't out to ruin your book. They are out to make it the best book the market can support. And in so doing, hopefully, bring in your dollars.


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1 Response so far.

  1. How ironic you bring up this subject. This just happened to me. An editor contacted me, letting me know the only reason she didn't offer me a contract was because of reason X. I had thought about that possiblity before I submitted and my end result was NOT to do change X because I seriously thought the story was better as I first had it. Usually, I'm the type an editor tells me they want this, I'll do it without question. So, it was weird that I wanted to rebel.

    Then I realized, hey, this editor isn't really my editor. She didn't offer me a contract. Why can't I show it to a couple more places and see if they have the same problem. It was only one person's point of view that wanted that change, right?

    So, if your story isn't legally bound somewhere, then I don't see a problem in shopping around first before you give change X a try. Of course, dipping your toes into change X might not be so bad either. If you try it, you never know, you just might like it better the second way.

    Thanks, Claire, for you wonderful advice.

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