Once you’ve picked the right editor, you don’t want to mess up your relationship. Keep these six things in mind while working with them so you can streamline and get the most out of the editing process!
1. Read over your work before sending it in.
This is especially important for nonfiction writers who are sending articles directly to an editor in hopes of publication, but fiction authors can benefit from this, as well. A lot of times, after you finish writing something, you have a totally different idea in your head of what you wrote than what actually made it onto the page.
When you finish your manuscript, do yourself a favor and take a few days off, then come back to it and read it over. If you can fix a lot of the content and grammar issues from the get-go, you’re more likely to a much cheaper price for the editing.
2. Make sure you can summarize your work.
When an editor asks you what your book is about, you should be able to give an immediate answer to fit the situation. In person, you should be able to give a quick synopsis in two-to-three sentences. In an email, you can probably suffice to provide a little more background. Pull out the important information and leave the rest for when they actually read your work.
3. Use proper grammar and mechanics in your correspondence.
It makes a writer look unprofessional if he or she can’t write a sensible, error-free email. That means start with a salutation, end with a signature, and try to use complete sentences in the middle. And for goodness sake—don’t just send one-word emails!
4. Get back to your editor in a timely manner.
As an editor, I want to work with the writer to create the manuscript they really want—but I can’t do that if the writer never talks to me.
I’ll usually ask for feedback on my editing style or look for clarification on the content at least once during the process, and I’m hoping the author can get back to me within a day or two so I can keep moving forward and meet their desired deadline.
5. Don’t make excuses to your editor before they have even had a chance to read your manuscript.
Dear writers: don’t sell yourself short! You’ve spent days, weeks, months, or even years slaving over your work—give it the credit it deserves. Don’t tell your editor that “it’s not that good,” or “it needs work”—let them decide this for themselves, and be confident in yourself and your writing.
6. Be open to criticism
A wonderful writing professor that I had in college used to say all the time that you can’t fall in love with your words. Fall in love with the concept, fall in love with your characters, but don’t ever fall in love with the actual words on the page—because they’re going to change.
Sometimes, when you’re freelance copywriting, your publisher will change a word to one that makes absolutely no sense, but they’re paying you, so you have to accept it anyway. And sometimes, if you want your book to sell, you need to make major changes.
There’s nothing wrong with just writing for yourself, but if you’re writing to be published and to sell your work, you need to seriously consider all reasonable criticism you receive. Ask your critics/editors/beta readers to explain the justification behind their recommendations, and then allow yourself to put real thoughts behind their suggestions. They just want what’s best for your writing and your success—it’s not a personal attack!
If you can accomplish these things, your writing (and your author brand) are going to be infinitely better. Plus, you could save yourself a ton of cash!