Monday, August 9, 2010

Editor/Author Relationship, a first-timer’s perspective by Lexie Craig

First thing I think any author needs to do is to actually have a conversation with your editor. Face-to-face or over the phone, I think it is important that you, as a writer have a voice conversation with the person in charge of helping you to shape your masterpiece. You just need to find a connection with them because the next few weeks, you’re going to be spending a lot of time together, and like most partnerships, it works a lot better if you don’t want to kill each other.

Next thing I suggest is to be prompt, but thorough, in your responses to them, though I don’t think this will be a hardship. You want this to go as smoothly as possible for both of you, so they do the work and then you do, making sure to look it over with an eye towards perfection.

I cannot overstate this part: THE EDITOR IS NOT OUT TO GET YOU. THE THINGS THEY SUGGEST, THEY HAVE REASONS, AND INDEED ARE PAID, TO DO SO. YOU ARE MARRIED TO THE CONTENT AND THE SPIRIT, BUT NOT EACH INDIVIDUAL WORD. Pick your battles and fight it out accordingly. The editor is not out to hurt your feelings or make you feel inferior. The editor is just as invested in putting out a good product as you are, because, and this is a big one, if the piece produced looks shoddy or haphazard, they look bad. THE OVERALL CONTENT OF THE BOOK IS THE PRODUCT OF BOTH OF YOUR WORK AND REFLECTS ON BOTH OF YOU, EITHER WELL OR POORLY ACCORDINGLY.

A brief note, you will get tired of looking at your work. By the time it goes to the editor, you’ll have looked it over several times and be pretty confident of your work. You will be surprised by what the editor finds in terms of missed typos, unclear thoughts (or things that are clear in your mind but not on the page), and incomplete plot-points. This is an exercise in ‘stand and deliver’, and you can do this, so long as you realize that the end result will be awesome.

I was very lucky in that I had a very experience editor in Karen Adams. What I write is not a genre she reads, and so her entirely fresh perspective made me work harder to make it make sense. She was super thorough, and as such, I felt pretty confident when I sent my MS back to the publisher after 1 major and 2 (or was it 3?) line edits.

Now that Imminent Danger is finally out, I’m happy and excited about it, but most of all, I’m confident about the presentation of it, because I know that a lot of time and effort was expended in making it the best possible story in the best possible condition it could be.

Armed with this knowledge, I’m pressing on with my second novel and, like always, hoping for the best and working hard to make it so.

For more information about Lexie and her books click here

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lexie!
    Great post. I am presently working with an editor at Harlequin Mills and Boon over in London. I spoke with her over the phone, but when she talked fast I had trouble understanding her. E-mail works best for me. A writer published by Mills and Boon told me, "The editor will tell you what she wants. Give it to her and she'll buy your book, don't and she won't."