Four Myths About Editors

Since even the most prolific authors’ experience with editors may be limited to one or two, editors can seem mythical. Let’s unwrap a few assumptions:

1)  Editors don’t have to worry about the market. Agents advise writers to consider the market when writing. This is because editors do have to worry about the market and must make their acquiring decisions at least partially with the market in mind. Yes, they desire amazing writing, a sweet author, and clean copy. But they have to please the president of the company and, most important, shepherd a book that will ultimately be purchased by many readers.

2)  Editors have all the power. Editors are powerful, no question about it. They can dash the dreams of a writer with a “no” just like that. But when editors do like a manuscript enough to take it further up the chain, they must justify why your book is the right book to be published by their house at that time. Then the committee (or maybe even two different committees at separate meetings) must agree. The process helps the author, because it means the team is behind you. It’s not just you and the editor against everyone else. Your book is supported.

3)  Editors who like me and my work won’t ask for many revisions. You may not be asked to revise much, but don’t count on it. An editor asking for revisions, and even rewrites, still likes you and your work. It’s just that the editor strives to make your work the best it can be to be published for the reading public. The editor is on your side. Always remember that.

4)  I only have one shot with an editor. That’s generally not the case. Authors can improve on craft, story, and platform, and have another shot with an editor. You’ll be able to discern from the type of decline letters you receive. Here’s where your agent can be your guide.

Your turn:

How many times have you approached the same editor?

How has rejection encouraged you to improve your craft?

Leave a Comment

How to Find Your Perfect Critique Partner

When I teach at writers’ conferences, the value of good critique partners often comes up. An insightful critique partner can help a writer improve the level of his or her craft, sometimes more than either person would have thought possible. The conversation often leads to the question, “How do I …

Read More

Two Kinds of Writers in the World

I often tell developing writers at conferences that there are two kinds of writers in the world: the “hobbyist” and the “professional.” Yes, it’s an oversimplification. It’s shorthand. But I think it gets the point across. Both the hobbyist and the professional may be good writers, even great. Both may …

Read More

Editors: Friend or Foe?

Our guest blogger today is our friend Karen Ball! She runs Karen Ball Publishing Services, LLC and is an award-winning, best-selling author; a popular podcaster/ speaker; and the co-creator with Erin Taylor Young of From the Deep, LLC. She has also been executive editor for fiction at Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and …

Read More

Create Videos Based on Your Blog Posts

Check out Lumen 5, (www.lumen5.com) a wonderful resource that can help you create videos out of your blog posts. As a test I took my post from July 31st, “Should You Hire a Freelance Editor?” and within 45 minutes the following video was complete. (Read more below the embedded video) …

Read More

Should You Hire a Freelance Editor?

Katie Dale asked, “I am wondering at what stage should I have my memoir edited? After I have an agent? After I have a publisher? Before? Should I consider ever getting professionally edited before I get an agent or publisher? What’s the process?” This is a question being asked more …

Read More

I Love Change, Especially For Someone Else

Several decades ago, the British magazine, The Linguist printed a graphic with the phrase, “The strongest drive is not to Love or Hate; it is one person’s need to change another’s copy.” In the cartoon, the word “change” was crossed out and replaced first by amend, then by revise, alter, …

Read More