The word “editor” elicits a strong response—whether positive or negative—from most authors.
Likewise, good or bad experiences working with certain authors stick with editors for years.
Those of us who have worked on both sides of that equation gain a unique perspective. From day one, the editor can take steps to strengthen his or her relationship with the author. In fact, what a great opportunity to employ a Christ-like model.
Mark 10:45a: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.”
A Dozen Do-s for Editors who want to be that servant leader:
- Introduce yourself. In the initial e-mail, include where you live, what your family is like, and a few interests. This paints a picture of a real human rather than a stock image of the author’s eighth grade English teacher with a red pen in her hand.
- Are you also an author? Share that. It’s a relational plus, not a minus.
- If your publisher allows, or you’re independent, consider giving the author a little control by offering to send edits in one, two, or three batches.
- If you’re running late on edits, communicate. Wouldn’t it be better for the author to know that you had to help your mom who just got out of the hospital than assume that you’re overbooked or just … slow?
- When you deliver the first round of edits, consider preceding those with an e-mail. Track change markings can take aback even a seasoned author. And an emerging author may need a quick primer to avoid panic.
- Give a few specifics you liked about the story, letting the author know you recognize his or her strengths. You may also take the opportunity to share areas you’ll help move the story from good to great.
- In the e-mail, mention the types of edits you made on a repeated basis. In the manuscript, explain the first time, then use a simplified term to identify repeated edits (like “POV” to remind the author to stay in deep point of view). Clarify changes made to comply with your style manual. This can help an author self-edit in the future.
- Let the author know if you are expecting him or her to click to accept or reject every track change, and if you want them to explain their reason for rejecting. Not being clear can mean a whole lot of clicking left to you.
- Comment throughout the manuscript on positives. Statements such as “this is the type of active voice I’m looking for” or “great hook” let the author know when they’re hitting the target.
- If you are working under a managing editor, copy him or her on all but minor communications. That avoids misunderstandings, provides documentation should a conflict arise, and allows the ME to chime in if there’s a need.
- Before the second round of edits, prepare the author that fresh changes might arise from moving and adding text in the first round and issues that weren’t visible when marking the biggest things. This is the chance to beef up or trim and polish the story.
- Connect on social media. View the partnership as ongoing. Become one of the most vocal proponents for book release. Your relationship should be mutually beneficial and can open further doors for both of you.
Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother.
Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets.
The tragic death of Shelby Dodson’s husband—her partner in a successful Home Network house flipping business—stole love, status, and career. Now a bungalow redesign thrusts Shelby into the company of a new contractor. Scott Matthews remembers high-and-mighty Shelby from high school, and her prissy, contemporary style goes against his down-to-earth grain. When the house reveals a mystery, will its dark secrets—and their own mistakes—cost a second chance at love?
Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She’s a managing editor for Smitten Historical Romance and Heritage Beacon Historical Fiction imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and the author of The Georgia Gold Series, The Restoration Trilogy, and a number of novellas, including Across Three Autumns of Barbour’s Colonial Backcountry Brides Collection. Her contemporary romance, Fall Flip, and a historical, The Witness Tree both release September 2019 with LPC.