Wednesday, December 4, 2013

#ISWG: That Editor Must Be Wrong #IAmWriting


One of the hardest things for any writer to do is hand their precious manuscript over to an editor. Why? Because that's our blood, sweat and tears. Those 100,000 or less words aren't just a piece of paper with words. That's our baby. We have a story to tell the world.

But what happens when an editor or beta reader returns your manuscript with a notes that you don't agree with? What if they come back to tell you it needs more work and until you fix those problems it isn't ready to be published? Your bound to feel upset. Don't they understand that this manuscript is the next bestseller?

Before you get so upset that you decide to ignore the editor and self publish your work take a break. Put the notes and the manuscript aside for a few days then come back to it. The editor is not your enemy. They know what works and doesn't work. Their job is to accurately prepare your manuscript for the market. A good editor is an author's best friend. They want you to succeed. I know it can be hard to accept criticism but if your going to be an author you have to accept it.

So calm down and then go back to their notes. Read them carefully and if you still have concerns about what they are telling you approach your editor with them. A good editor will listen to the author. They will walk you through their thought process but they are not a writing coach. If you need a writing coach then hire one. There are plenty of people in the industry who want to help you succeed. Before you hire any of these people, though, be sure to check them out with other authors you trust. There are people out there who want to help you but there are still others who want to make a buck off of people.  You have to be careful when choosing a writing coach, editor or publisher. But we'll talk about that another time.

The editor and author need to be friends. They need to know your writing style, your target market and your genre. The more they understand you the more they can help you. My editor, Lee Porche, has been my editor for three years and I wouldn't trade her for anyone else. In fact, she is the editing director of our publishing house and continues to work on all my books. Your editor needs to be your writing best friend. So instead of jumping to hostilities when he or she gives you criticism you need to foster the relationship. Understand their point of view. Sometimes another pair of eyes on your manuscript is a great thing. Authors are their own worst editors.

19 comments:

  1. I think it helps to have an edit, beta, or critique partner who understands your writing style and genre, and who isn't just making suggestions or edits to try to get you to write more like someone else. The best critique is friendly yet honest, instead of only mentioning what one didn't like. I had a horrible experience with a would-be beta who didn't mention anything she liked, and even tried to get me to stop using my beloved Palatino typeface. Nope, I wouldn't type anything in the butt-ugly Times New Roman for all the money in the world. Nowhere does it say that's a requirement for all modern writers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are the beta readers you want to stay away from. There are always out there who want to be negative towards anyone who does better than them in the literary world.

      Delete
  2. Allison, I feel the same way about my editor even though I have only worked with her a few times over the last year. She is absolutely invaluable to my success and learning.

    Glen

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would be one of those people that have a hard time seeing all the red slashed on my work. But, I also know it's for my good. Constructive criticism is something we can all learn from.

    co-host IWSG
    Elsie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's great for any author to remember that constructive criticism is something we all need.

      Delete
  4. By the time I've read through my ms four or five times I'm hardly any good at catching typos and grammatical mistakes anymore, because I read it as I know I meant to write it, not how it's written. I need those new pair of eyes helping me out! And I'm always appreciative of any feedback I get on my work!
    --December IWSG co-sponsor

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think the first step in learning how to work with an editor is learning how to work with critique partners. The years I spent with the wonderful people who helped me improve my story taught me to listen and make changes when necessary. Perhaps I should thank them for preparing me in such a way that I LOVED working with my editor. It really was a partnership with give and take. She would make a suggestion and at times it didn't fit my vision, but it sparked a new idea of my own that would fill the gap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have the same relationship with my editor.

      Delete
  6. Hi Alison, popping in from the IWSG FB page. When my writing was critiqued I didn't actually have a problem with the comments and red pen (of which there was a lot!). I took probably 95% of the suggestions on board, but there was a couple I just couldn't bring myself to amend!
    Suzanne @ Suzannes Tribe
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can be hard sometimes. That's our baby they are talking about.

      Delete
  7. Even if I don't agree, I'll put all the notes aside and give myself time to think about the comments. Often time I might not take the direct advice but I'll see where the problem lays and approach it differently! Always good to take a day or so to calm down emotionally!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great approach to it all. I've had to learn to do that myself.

      Delete
  8. Totally agree with you! You need a trusted editor and it is a relationship to nourish.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good advice, Allison. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own writing, we can't see what others pick out easily. For me, it's always good to see things from someone else's perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't have an editor, but what you say is true of how I approach things after my crit partners and beta readers have read my stuff. I find I always have a knee-jerk, "They don't get it!" reaction. But usually after a couple of days, I begin to see and understand what they mean. I, too, usually approach it differently than how they advise to fix it, but it helps to know what's working from someone who's more objective about your story.

    ReplyDelete