{Coffee with Kara}: The Author-Editor Relationship, Part 3

In the first part (read it here), I discussed the editorial process at Anaiah and then gave a list of questions every author should ask about editing prior to signing a contract. In the second part (read it here), I listed the five things your editor will expect from you. And today, I’m going to discuss the five things YOU should expect from your editor. Yes, some of the items will be the same, but the reasons are vastly different.

So, here are the 5 things you should expect from your editor…

  1. COMMUNICATION. As I said previously, this is the single most important aspect of the author-editor relationship. As an author, you need to know what’s going on. When will you get edits? What are those edits? When are they due? Who do you send questions to, and when can you expect a response? Most publishers have a standard response time. Here at Anaiah, we ask our authors for a full 48 hours. If you don’t get a response by then, you’re free to nudge. Your editor is your point of contact for all things related to your book, and so you want an editor who is going to communicate not only clearly, but frequently.
  2. PROFESSIONALISM. There’s nothing wrong with expecting your editor to act like the professional he/she is. They should be addressing you however you want to be addressed; and they should be polite in their correspondence with you. If you’re getting snarky emails, or one-word responses to questions that require much more, that’s not okay. And having your emails ignored completely is not okay, either! They should be mindful and respectful of your life outside of publishing, too. If you tell them you’re unavailable for whatever reason, he/she shouldn’t expect you to complete edits or any other task during that time.
  3. REASONABLE EDITS. You have done the hard work of writing a book and getting a publisher to publish it. And now you’re entrusting all that hard work to, essentially, a complete stranger. That can be terrifying! Now, if you’ve asked the right questions prior to signing the contract, you should already be aware of the scope of edits that will be expected of you. But regardless, your editor should be asking you to make edits that will help make the book better while staying true to the characters and plot you’ve created. Any editor who asks you to change something simply because they personally don’t like it probably isn’t a good editor. Your editor should be able to clearly, concisely, and knowledgeably explain what isn’t working and why. And if you don’t understand an edit or the reason behind it, do not hesitate to ask!
  4. ADVOCACY. As your primary point of contact, you want your editor to be your advocate. If something is going wrong, or you feel you’re being treated unfairly, you want to know your editor has your back. Now, most editors have a boss of their own, and so they can’t always give you what you want, but knowing they’re willing to step up and help you plead your case can make a world of difference.
  5. ENCOURAGEMENT. The editing process is often long. It requires a lot of hard work. And it can be emotionally draining at times, especially when, round after round, your editor is pointing out everything you’ve done wrong. It’s okay to want and expect some encouragement thrown in there—because knowing what you’re doing right, what’s working well within the story, can be as valuable as learning what isn’t working.

Now, I’ve gotten quite a few questions about what to do if you don’t get along with your editor and how to handle edits that you vehemently disagree with. So, come back on Monday, August 5th and I’ll answer those questions in detail with very specific steps you can follow.

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