Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Working with Your Editor: Part One

Working with Editors: Part One
Net's Notations Tuesdays

Last month, we discussed why we writers need editors. This month, let’s discuss working with our editors to the best advantage.

As an editor, I’ve been so blessed to work with some great writers! And as a writer, I’ve worked with some great editors! There’s a general sense of excitement when a book gets contracted, wouldn’t you agree? And that excitement goes a long way (or should) in paving great relations between author and editor. Everyone wins.

When I say “grace,” what’s the first thing that enters your mind? Hands folded in prayer? (saying grace before a meal) Or having a gracious attitude? I’m going for that latter one. Just as in every area of our Christian writing lives, we need to remember grace.

Grace is a social lubricant. And like the oil that keeps your car running, grace keeps relationships going. When you extend grace to your fellow writers, to your mentees, to your editors or agent, you’re truly being Christlike to them.

Now, let’s get specific about how this applies to the author/editor relationship.

Your interactions with your editor (who represents the house publishing your project, or who works for you as a freelancer) will move smoothly when injected with grace. Be kind to him/her. Be professional. If he comes across as short in an email, for example, remember he’s probably swamped and probably simply trying to 1) get back to you in a timely fashion and 2) not consume much time. You’re a busy writer. He’s a busy editor. Handle with grace.

How often you connect. We all have a million questions when it’s our first publishing contract. I did. Ask my first editor and she’ll tell you I had a lot of questions about the contract, the process, the next step, the last step, all of it. Most editors are gracious. They’ll take the time to hold your hand (extending grace). But use wisdom. Don’t weary them. Save up the questions for one email and send them all at once. Then—breathe. That’s right. Everything will be fine.

Feedback. We’re going to spend an entire Net’s Notations Tuesday on this topic, but just remember to apply grace to any and all feedback from your editor. This is a tough one. That project is your baby. It’s difficult being “critiqued” and guided. Easy. Breathe. Grace. There you go.  *grin*

Patience. I believe patience and grace go together; they are virtues after all. So, be patient with your editor. Remember you’re working on one or two (maybe more) WIPs at a time, but she’s working on several authors’ projects at one time. She’ll get back to you. Relax. Take a walk. Work on another project. Grace.

Next week, we’ll discuss our reactions as authors to the editor’s edits. Ooh, should be fun. *smile* Join us! Feel free to share comments about your experiences with editors and especially of times you’ve seen grace in action (or set grace in motion).


  1. I'm excited that your diving into yet another great series, Annette. This post has some wonderful advice, and you've also delivered important facts to consider in the working relationship between author/editor. Thanks!


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