Thursday, August 13, 2015

Editors - Accept or Reject?

"The editor is alway right." 
The corollary is that no writer will take all of his or her editor's advice; 
for all have sinned and fallen short of editorial perfection. 
Put another way, to write is human, to edit is divine. 
Stephen King - On Writing

One evening, I went to listen to the fiction writer Tim Powers. He spoke about editors and the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishers. 

When a book is up for traditional publishing and the editor tells the writer to make certain changes, the writer makes those changes ... or his book isn't going to be published. 

When a book is self-published, the writer hires the editor. The editor says changes need to be made. Errors need corrections. Since the author is doing the paying, it is the author who decides to explain why they don't want to make those changes, doesn't want to to take the time to make the changes, and doesn't care what the editor said. Heck, they'll just find another editor. Money wasted. 

Then there are the writers who are so self-critical that it doesn't matter how many times their book is edited. They will strive for perfection and end up with a book that is never published. Time and money wasted. 

I have found this to be more common than not. 

How do you feel about your editor? Do you listen to the changes suggested? Do you make all the changes suggested or do you pick and choose? Let me hear back what you think in the comments below. 

1 comment:

  1. The King is definitely right. I think every writer wants a perfect a book. Is that possible? I taught for 30 years. I never taught from one textbook that I didn't find mistakes. It's the same with most books I've read. And some suggestions that editors make are a matter of opinion. It's not that the writer doesn't value the advice of her editor.

    I also think some writers and editors just don't match up. As a writer, I think you find an editor who you think believes in your potential. I had an editor who, when she finished editing, sent back my manuscript with a couple of track changes—it had already been edited three times before so not many mistakes—and an invoice. NO other comments. No: nice job or your manuscript needs work. Nothing!! A few track changes and a bill. We didn't match up.

    I have two editors now. We match. I may not do everything they recommend, but I will definitely consider the advice and try my best to incorporate it.

    Great thought-provoking blog. Thank you for making me think.