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 B&H Publishing Group, and a literary agent with the Steve Laube Agency. Visit the Write from the Deep web site.


Oh my friends! The stories I could tell about writers and editors. Some lovely, coming-of-age stories…some near-romances. Others creep into suspense or thrillers. And then there are the blood-curdling horror stories…

So what makes the difference? What makes for a positive author and editor relationship? Well, there are a lot of things writers need to understand and look for in an editor, but what made the difference for me as a writer was my editors understanding that their part in my writing journey was about a lot more than just having the right technical knowledge.

These editors understood how I, as a writer, slaved away, wrestling words and sentences and scenes into submission until pages, then chapters, then the book finally…finally took form. That when I wrote “the end,” I breathed a deep sigh—and then held that next breath as I sent my beautiful baby off to them. They understood how I fretted and worried, wondering what they’d say. Would they hate it? Was I a hack? Who ever told me I could write???

And then, when they evaluated and examined every bit of my masterpiece, they sent me the words I longed to hear: “Oh, this is WONDERFUL!” But they didn’t stop there. No matter how I wanted them to. Nope, they went on: “Now, let’s make it even more so.”

These wonderful editors knew I needed time to weep and wail and curse them until I had to admit just how right they each were. And they trusted that I would, once reason returned, dive in, reshaping and revising until every word shone.

Now, as I look back, I’m wonderstruck at how their guidance and encouragement drew a level of craft out of me that I didn’t even know was there. But they knew. Each in their own way, they knew. Through working with them, I found my truest voice as a writer. Their guidance, encouragement, and belief in me and what I was writing…that made all the difference.

So I want to encourage you… Find that kind of editor. One who will share your vision and come alongside you. One who will help and encourage you as you refine your message and craft. One who understands your part, and his part, in this writing journey. That kind of editor will enrich your writing…and so much more.

Wondering how to find the right editor for you? What you need to understand and look for in an editor? Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young have written a book to help you do just that! Finding and Working with an Editor: Everything You Need to Know for a (Nearly) Pain-Free Edit shares an abundance of guidance and insider tips, gained from over 30 years of experience in publishing, all geared to help you in your search for an editor.

[Note from Steve Laube: I highly recommend this book to every writer. The editorial relationship is critical to your publishing success. The ebook is only $3.99! You have no excuse. Get your copy today.]

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