Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, October 14, 2006

What Editors Wish Writers Knew

By Sariah S. Wilson

Today I participated in an author panel for my local RWA chapter. I talked about the importance of the editorial relationship (which I’ve emphasized here before). I’ve always thought it very important that aspiring writers realize how important their relationship with their editor will be, and to treat it with total professionalism. As part of my talk, I had a “What Editors Wish Writers Knew” (and hence, the title of this blog ) segment which I present to you now:

Don’t be afraid to ask your editor questions. As human beings we don’t enjoy looking stupid or as if we don’t understand something, and when your new editor starts talking about P&L statements, instead of nodding and saying, “Uh-huh” it would be more helpful to everyone involved if you asked what that meant. No one expects a new author to know everything. They do expect you to ask about things you don’t understand.

Treat your editor well, and the favor will be returned. If you make your editor’s life hard, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Your editor will be your gatekeeper at the publisher. They will be your liaison, the one that will go to bat for you with the editorial committee, the marketing department, the cover designers, the one who will stop your book from getting a stupid title, etc., etc. This is not a person you can afford to make mad.

As much as we all would like to write our novels and have our publisher sell them and send us the million dollar checks, that’s not so much the reality. You are going to have to sell yourself. It’s your name on the book and you’re the one that is going to lose out if no one buys it. You have to be proactive. It makes publishers very happy when they see what you’re willing to bring to the table when it comes to publicity and marketing. It also might make them more willing to put money behind you with advertising of their own if they see how proactive you will be.

And as a final thought from the Evil Editor himself:

I wish writers knew how many other writers they’re competing with. If they knew that their query letters and manuscripts had to outshine those of half the people on the planet, rather than just a few of them, they’d put more effort into editing, revising, proofreading, organizing, and searching for the right words to produce clear, captivating writing.


At 10/17/2006 9:57 AM, Blogger Keith Fisher said...

OK I'm not afraid to ask what is a p&L statement?

At 10/17/2006 4:06 PM, Blogger Marsha Ward said...

profit and loss


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