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Building a Better Relationship with your Editor

by Melissa Endlich

An editor/author relationship can be just like a marriage-to get the most from it, you need to work at it. Here are some hints and tips to help create a great working relationship with your editor!

She likes my book. Now what?:
Everyone wants to get off on the right foot with their editor. After you’ve gotten over the initial shock of being a published author, why not set up a phone chat with your editor. Get to know her and what she expects from you. This is especially helpful if you are agent-free. Don’t be shy to ask questions. Anything from “why do you like my writing?” to “how to you spell your name?” Do try to keep things professional. Don’t ask your editor about her personal life, unless she herself brings it up.

Is ten emails a day too much? how to communicate better with your editor.
Editors always want to be available for our authors. That’s what they pay us for. But don’t forget, you have only one editor, and we might have ten, twenty, even thirty authors we work with! Time is precious, so don’t, I repeat, don’t send 10 emails a day. Send 1 email, and ask your most pressing questions in that email. You have the right to expect to hear back from your editor within a reasonable amount of time. Don’t pout if you don’t hear back immediately. Do expect to get a response within a few days.

Be gentle with me: how to get the most out of the line editing process.
So, you’re under contract, you’ve finished revising your manuscript, and now your manuscript is in the production phase: line editing, copyediting, galleys, etc. If this is first time you’ve ever done this, ask your editor to describe how things work in her publishing house. Every house does things differently. Will this be a hard copy or electronic line edit? Is she doing the actual editing, or will a freelancer do it? Will you get to see the copyedited manuscript? The production process can be intimidating, especially when you’re given tight turnaround times. Be open and honest with your editor. If it’s Thanksgiving weekend and you’re not sure you can make the deadlines, honesty is always the best policy. Don’t just blow off deadlines and think we won’t notice you haven’t delivered the materials. We notice. And we remember.

Godiva is always appreciated: The care and feeding of an editor.
Editors are human beings, just like authors. Sometimes we need a little affection, a little nurturing. Just as authors like to hear how great their writing is, editors like to hear they’re making a difference. If you think your editor did a great job working on your latest manuscript, why not send her a thank you card? If you’re lucky enough to see your editor at a conference, request some one-on-one time. There is no substitute for a conversation in person. (And yes, a little chocolate never hurts!)

May your relationship with your editor be a long lasting one, and may you produce many wonderful books!

A native New Yorker, Melissa Endlich has worked in the publishing industry for twenty years. She is currently a Senior Editor for Love Inspired Books, acquiring inspirational romances.. After so many years in publishing, she considers herself blessed that she is paid to read books that she would gladly read for free. For more information on Love Inspired, check out www.LoveInspiredBooks.com.

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8 Responses to Building a Better Relationship with your Editor

  1. Melissa, thank you for taking the time to answer some great questions on how to work with an editor.

  2. Dorothy Clark says:

    Melissa, What great insight and advice you’ve given. I’m sure it will take the “scare” and confusion out of the editor/author relationship for many first time published writers.

    And may I say an enthusiastic amen! to that last sentence.

  3. Glynna Kaye says:

    Melissa — Your warm words of encouragement and “personal touch” (as evidenced in the responses to these questions) are just a few of the wonderful things about having you for my editor!

  4. Wait.

    You mean I WASN’T supposed to call you repeatedly to run every grammar-check by you????

    Who knew?????? ;)

    This sounds totally like sitting and chatting with you! Thanks for popping over here and letting people get to know you. You are beloved by so many.

  5. Terri Reed says:

    Thanks for the great advice Melissa. Your insights are most appreciated.

  6. I’ve worked with Melissa on and off, mostly on, for a long time and it looks as if the only thing I’ve done wrong is to not send enough chocolate. :) Whew! That’s a relief.

    Seriously, ours has been a great working relationship and I can’t thank her enough for keeping me going strong.

    Blessings,
    Val

  7. Virginia Munoz says:

    Hey, was this written just for me??

    This is a great post, and since it was linked on Seekerville, you didn’t have the send the link directly to my inbox. *awkward*

    Blessings!

    Virginia

  8. Mary Curry says:

    Thanks, Melissa.

    It’s so helpful to read something from the other side of the desk.

    And good to know that chocolate is appreciated. ;)

    Mary