Tag s | Editing

Your Obligation to Your Editor

You’ve done all the hard work of writing and pitching a book and now your agent has secured a contract for you. Congratulations! Now you’re set to work with an editor! You may have met the editor at a conference. You may have talked with the editor many times during 15-minute pitch sessions over several years. You may have attended their workshops and spotlight sessions at conferences. This may be your dream editor as a result of that rapport.

Or the editor may be your agent’s contact and is little more than a lovely publicity picture on a website – until now. Still a dream come true to be partnering with this editor. But you might swallow with a little bit of fear.

But know this: both of you have a common goal: to bring the reader your best work. As long as you remember this through the process, you should be feeling good about your work.

There Is More Than One Stage

 Major publishers take a book through several editorial stages.

You’ll find one stage to be sure that the contents of the book make sense and that the story holds together. You may be asked to verify facts, work on timelines, and make changes. You might even discover that the editor wants a complete rewrite. This happens to both new and veteran authors. Now is not the time to get discouraged. Now is the time to work harder than ever. The editor is in that position thanks to hard-won experience, education, and knowledge.

There is also a proofreading process. This is critical since little errors can aggravate readers.

Then you should see a final copy of what the book will look like once it’s in print. The goal here is to catch minute errors, if any. This is a fun part of the process since you get to be a reader of your book and the majority of the work is done.

Be Prepared to Work at Every Stage

When the editorial process gets tough, a writer may wonder if the book needed this many revisions, did anyone really like it in the first place? The editor did and does love your book, but again, it is the editor’s responsibility to bring your best to the reader.

In rare instances, an editor can be unreasonable. If you feel this way, always approach your agent. We’ve seen edits and can help you determine if they are normal. Then we decide where to go from there.

Your turn

How would you define a dream editor?

What was your best editorial experience? Your worst?


Leave a Comment

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

A Writer’s Best Friend

If I asked you what you considered to be a writer’s best friend, what would you say? Please don’t say “Wikipedia.” My clients would probably reply, “Bob Hostetler.” But that can’t be everyone’s answer. You might consider “a fine fountain pen” or “a blank page in a brand new journal” …

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

Why I Don’t Critique Your Work

A fantastic blog post from Ramona Richards reminded me why I, as a literary agent, don’t offer critiques on rejected proposals. Believe me, as someone who used to write books, I understand the disappointment of the unhelpful rejection letter. So much that I blogged about it (click to read it). …

Read More

A Day in an Editor’s Brain

How’s that for a terrifying blog title? Okay, so we won’t spend a whole day there. But as I pondered how to give you a glimpse into what freelance editors do, it occurred to me that the easiest, and best, method would be to just let you live in this …

Read More

Be Careful with Your Facts

In light of my last post on taking care of details, I thought my readers would be interested in seeing some oddities and errors I found – in the past week! An Irish Soda bread recipe in a local circular called for: 3 cups flower Hmmm. Roses? Daffodils? Tulips? What …

Read More