I’ve worked with lots of different editors at a wide range of publishers and thought I would share with you today some of the things I have learnt.
Here are my Do’s and Don’ts of what to do when working with editors. Most I have gleaned from personal experience or chatting with editors and other writers. Most of this advice has been reinforced on various courses I have attended and I must admit I’ve been a bit of a ‘writing course’ junky in my time.
- Be professional at all times. Your editor is not your friend, although you should be friendly. Always remember it is a working arrangement.
- Let the writing speak for itself. At the beginning of the project send samples to check you are on the right lines even if they don’t ask for them.
- Discover what you can do to make the editor’s job easier by finding out what the editor wants. This is easier said than done because a lot of the time the editor does not know what they want until they’ve seen what they don’t want.
- Be willing to work with the editor on requested changes, even when they change their mind again and again and again.
- If an editor goes to the trouble of saying something to you, take it very seriously.
- Don’t use a fancy font. I have never done this but I’ve heard a story about someone who did and the editor was not amused as it takes time out of a very busy schedule to change it.
- Don’t miss the deadline. I try very hard to keep to my deadlines and prefer to submit something earlier than late. When an editor gives you a deadline, it means money is involved. If you think you are going to miss a deadline get in touch with the editor as soon as you know so they can rearrange the schedule. Remember everything has a knock on effect.
- Don’t be afraid to call your editor to ask questions or talk about issues concerning the manuscript. That’s what they’re there for.