The Virtues of the Author-Editor Friendship



I'M A WRITER.  As are you, probably.  But even though I've published, I still feel clueless about how to go about the publishing process.  
thankfully, i'm also good friends with an editor
After she shared the article "The 7 Deadly Sins of Novelists (According to Editors)," concerning the author-editor relationship from the editor's point of view, I decided to add my two cents on the issue from the author's point of view.

THE VIRTUES OF THE AUTHOR-EDITOR FRIENDSHIP

1.  RECOGNIZE FALLIBILITY
As soon as you set out to employ an editor, you're recognizing that your job isn't perfect.  For anyone of a perfectionist bent of mind, this is personally horrifying (i know, i know, that's me), but this first step is key to getting your manuscript where you want it to be: published.

Relatable: as the writer, I get so entrenched in my w.i.p. that I often lose sight of things I've already written, questions I've already raised that need answering, holes that need filling, etc.  This is natural; the writer's brain is supah-busy running full-steam ahead.  Another pair of eyes (i.e. the editor) can spot these + bring them to my attention.

2.  TALK ABOUT VULNERABILITY
Editors are human, too: they probably know that you're going to be feeling scared handing your manuscript to them to (as it seems to you) tear apart.  If you're already tough as nails + don't mind this process, that's awesome! (i wish i was you!)  But for most of us, it's helpful to be honest about how we're feeling.  An editor will be gentle (while still doing her job) with a tender writer.  Tougher clients can handle their editors' more candid remarks.  Be open.  Compassion is out there.

3.  YOUR GOALS ARE THE SAME: GETTING THE BOOK PUBLISHED
The editor's job isn't to slash your manuscript to shreds.  The editor's job isn't to hurt you personally.  The editor's job is to provide the professional services most writers are not trained in, to inspect, refine, + prepare a manuscript for publication.  You have the job as the writer, she has the job as the editor.  Recognizing that you are both playing different roles on the same team is vital to getting your book ready to publish.

4.  TRY OUT DIFFERENT EDITORS IF NECESSARY, BUT BE RESPECTFUL
When publishing Plenilune, I gave a small section to a potential editor under contract so I could see if I was a good fit for that editor.  While the advice I received on the section was useful, in the end I felt my vision for the book + the editor's were not compatible.  Since I had contracted for only a trial section, I was able to fulfill the contract requirements + look for a new editor.

Be teachable:  While you are the writer, there's still lots of room for error in the writing process, + the editor is there to help you take note of those mistakes.
Be loyal to your novel:  While you're bound to make mistakes, you are the author, + that means your vision is top priority.  Make sure you + your editor share the same recognition of the spirit of your novel so you can work together to polish it until it shines just the way you want it to.
Be an adult:  Fulfill your contracts, don't take revisions personally, + definitely don't make life horrible for your editor; she's here to help you, not fight you.  



The author-editor relationship is often like two dogs trying to sniff each other's butts (which is weird + gross) but snarling + distrusting each other in the process so that no one gets anywhere but in a circle.  It doesn't have to be that way.  Next time you want to hate editors because you're afraid of them, think of dogs circling butts.  That should do the trick.

remember: you're not perfect!
+ that's okay!
xoxo, jenny