Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Ditch the Diva by Susan M. Baganz, Editor with Pelican Book Group

Most authors are so grateful for a book contract that they’ll do anything to please their editor. It can be a challenge when the editor doesn’t agree with something in a manuscript. What hills does an author defend or surrender on? How can you do that diplomatically when most communications are done via the tracking changes in a document file?

I’ve seen both extremes. Some authors are afraid to ask questions, even when they have a right to and should. Others make demands and badger the publisher with two-year-old temper tantrums.

Those we call divas. They are not fun to work with. They believe themselves to be experts and delight in pointing out editor errors forgetting one key reality: we are all flawed human beings. No one is an expert in this field. I’m learning new things all the time.

I’ve been treated with grace by some authors who have, in spite of distance, become friends and I’ve had others that I dread working on their books, even though they are well-written, simply because of the “attitude” I get from them in their communications.

When I first started I had one author who was a bit abrupt with her emails and I told my boss that I didn’t think she liked me. I joked that it must be because she didn’t tell me how awesome I was. Because I work for a smaller publishing house. I get paid based on the sales of every book I edit. That means my time is initially uncompensated for and I am motivated to do my best because the author’s sales impact my eventual income.

I don’t look at the sales numbers for my authors. A good book is one I’ll enjoy working on,

knowing it can impact lives. When even an entertaining, well-written story is accompanied by a diva attitude—I’d gladly forgo great sales to avoid working with that author again if I had the opportunity.

So, what can an author do? Be respectful and honest. Remember that your editor has a life. I’m an outside contractor and I’m not obligated to get your book done by your schedule. I have a family and face challenges that I need to deal with just like every other human being. I also have my own process for how I work and I try to honor that because it gives me the best results. If I’m forced to rush or shortchange that process you might find more errors in your work.

Editors are humans too, and it’s a small industry. Try to stay on your editor and publisher’s good side because in the long run, you’ll benefit, and we’ll all enjoy the process so much more.

Do you have questions for Susan that will help you better understand an editor's job?


Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Editor with Pelican Book Group’s imprint: Prism Book Group, specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.

Susan speaks, teaches and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church. Her favorite pastimes are lazy ones—snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.

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The Virtuous Viscount (Book 1)
Lord Marcus Remington has decided it is time to find a wife. He didn't expect her to be in the wreckage of a carriage in the middle of a spring storm, but rescuing Miss Josephine Storm challenges his heart and very character of the man known as the Virtuous Viscount. But when the injured young woman weighs heavy on the viscount's mind, convention goes out the window. As Miss Josephine Storm recovers her physical health, her heart is in even more danger. When The Black Diamond's plot to take over Britain puts Marcus and his friends in the criminal's cross-hairs, Josie's life is threatened. Marcus must chance losing her good favor and risk his virtuous reputation in order to save her life. Can Josie believe in the man she thought she knew when the facts say otherwise?