Yes-Men In The Underbelly

Leave a comment


Greetings all, and welcome to Fall. The lower Pacific Northwest is getting downright chilly at night. The daytime palette is brilliant, and lawns are disappearing under the colorful rags of leaves.

Today I want to discuss something which is close to my heart as both an editor and an author. Yes-manning.

In the publishing world, the most important part of being an editor working with any author is retaining and enhancing the integrity of their work by pointing out problems and asking questions which prospective readers might. At least, that is how I see it. It is a job of troubleshooting and trust.

But an editor is not the author. We don’t see inside your head. We don’t know your processes, and because we all start by reading something through for the very first time, we seldom know where you are heading until you get there. We can make educated guesses, but that doesn’t mean we are right. We aren’t you. We do our best to be objective and honest, going through your story not just as troubleshooters, but as readers.

So when a book goes through the multiphase back and forthing that is so central to whipping it into shape, we take your word for it as an author when you call it good and ask us to send it up for proofreading. It’s your book. You know what you want it to be.

Imagine then, how after God knows how many hours of work, an editor feels when they hear from their superior that you the author wrote a letter to them saying how so much of what was done to the manuscript was wrong and how it all needs to be fixed now.

Your editor, who has spent the past weeks working with you to make sure all of the however many changes there are sit right and true with you, can’t help but feel betrayed. An editor doesn’t move a manuscript up the line unless you, the author, tell them to.

Now your editor is wounded and feels like they have totally wasted their time. They have been disrespected, and yes, abused. It’s just not cool.

Your editor is not your superior–they are your equal partner. Don’t agree because you  feel intimidated. Don’t agree because it’s just easier.  Editors can be wrong. Don’t give in on things you feel strongly about–your editor is more than happy to help you work out the glitches.  If you disagree with your editor, just say so. Be honest, even if it hurts. Editors have tough skins. When you sign off on that final draft, you and your editor should feel proud of a job well done and for the completion of a successful collaboration. Treat your editor with the same respect and trust they are giving you. Between you, you put the final glaze on the portrait that is your book.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s