Editors are incredibly important. They are valuable, indispensable assets to authors and we should treat them with the utmost respect. At the same time, they are not always right either. They are human, just as the writers are human. But, to make the book better, that we need to find common ground and work from it. That is what we should look to in our editors…knowing that they want our book to be the best that it possibly can.
Writers are not the easiest lot to get along with. We can be fiesty, insecure, pains in the ass, disagreeable, stubborn. We, or rather, I, like to believe I am right, 100% correct. I don’t like to think that my book can use improving, but honestly, once I think about it some, all my books can be. We should not be afraid to speak up, to ask questions, to seek guidance, to need brainstorming help from our editors. They are the one person we have to connect with, the one person we have to go through to get another book accepted. They are the one person that is going to have to go through that book as much as we the author did writing it, so they should want to help us. They also are overworked and often underpaid for the incredible task they take on. Editing is not easy. It is not a walk in the park. It is not something one can do willy-nilly. It takes a good deal of understanding, of desire. We have to know what the editors are thinking, what they are trying to say if we are confused by their words and they have to know what we are trying to convey in the story we are telling. They are the champions of our books and I for one and grateful to all of mine, past and present.
I learn a lot through each round of editing. I need to learn a lot. I need to become a better, stronger writer. I learn a lot through revising and rewriting. I learn a lot through the questions my editors ask throughout the story, even though from time to time I’m not sure why they’re asking me if I meant to say something. Of course I meant to say it, otherwise, I wouldn’t have put it on the page. But, learning is part of growth and growth is something I am very interested in in all areas of life, most especially though in this career I have chosen to pursue.
This week my editor at Ellora’s Cave announced to us, her authors, that she was leaving. This was devastating to me. I am a new author at EC and this news has scared me. She understood my writing in a way that I felt at home with. It took me a few days to be able to write to her and tell her how I was feeling, to give her my unfailing support in the new paths she has chosen, to share with her how much I learned from her during the very brief period of time I knew her. I did cry as I wrote to her and I did cry when she replied. It is like losing a friend.
It is a business. Editors come and go. It doesn’t mean we, as authors, have to like it. We simply have to accept it and keep writing, keep doing what we do through the fear, the uncertainty of what’s going to happen now. What if the next editor and I don’t get along? What if we don’t connect on that level that editors and authors have to connect on? What if the new one doesn’t like my writing, my voice? What if I never sell another book to them?
I feel some of these things even with editors that haven’t left.
I try to let my editors know that I am thankful for all that they go through for my books when I know they have many other books to get through, too. I try to take on a good deal of the work myself and not have to have them hold my hand through the editing processes.
I do ask a lot of questions though.
I am very fond of my editors. I would be devastated to lose any of them, even if it were my choice.
Suz from Ellora’s Cave.
Jana from Loose Id.
Bethany from Samhain.
Tera from Samhain.
Shell from Phaze.
Leanne from Cobblestone.
These women, all of them, have shown me things in my writing that I didn’t know what there. I have received good reviews and very bad reviews, great sales and poor poor sales and while the bad and poor ones sting, there are things to take away from them all. It’s important to remember that someone out there believed in the work, someone picked it out of a pile and said ‘I want to edit this, I want to work with this person.’ If we can remember that, well, then we’ve learned something about ourselves as authors, as people.
The editors are a piece of the publishing puzzle that we can’t do without. I am humbled and touched that I have been able to work with some fantastic ones. They are part of the reason I love writing so much. So, thank you, Suz, Jana, Bethany, Tera, Shell, and Leanne.