Get Published

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?

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How to Know if Self-Publishing is for You

Technology and Amazon.com have opened up the world of book publishing, making it far more “democratic” than ever before and allowing anyone with word processing software and connection to the internet, to become a published author. The traditional publishing industry is a $25 billion or more industry in the United …

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How an Agent Reads

I’m seldom at a loss for words (though often at a loss for something of value to say), but the question took me aback for a moment. I was on an agents-and-editors panel at a writers’ conference within a few months of becoming an agent. I’d done this sort of …

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Author Says / Agent Hears

Many aspiring authors communicate things they think are positive, or at least in the spirit of honesty and transparency, but end up being understood entirely different than the intended message. In an attempt to show commitment, an aspiring author says, “I’ve been working on this book for ten years.” An …

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The Wild Pitch

In honor of the upcoming baseball season I thought it would be fun to explore the art of pitching.

A couple years ago I was watching a Major League baseball game and the pitcher unleashed a horrific throw that sailed about eight feet behind the batter. It floated to the backstop without a bounce and everyone in the stadium wonder what had just happened. It looked like the pitcher lost his grip and could not stop his delivery. In baseball terms this is classified as a wild pitch.

Unfortunately many writers unleash a pitch on an agent or an editor before it is ready to deliver. Let me list a few actual letters I have received.

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Five Ways Getting an Agent is Like Dating

At a recent writers’ conference, I enjoyed my first “speed dating” experience. Maybe I should clarify. “Yes, you should,” says my wife. These were “speed dating for writers” sessions, in which writers sat down for rapid-fire five-minute appointments with editors, agents, and authors (many conferences provide writers with the opportunity …

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Book Proposals: The Fiction Synopsis

Attention all novelists! Every fiction book proposal must include a synopsis. Everyone who teaches on the book proposal says you need one. But why? Those two to three single-spaced pages of agony will never be seen by anyone else but editors and agents, so why? Why, oh why, must a …

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