If you don't really know your editor, you may pay a big price later on. Here are three reasons why you might want to take the time to do so...
Recently, Mr. Disappointed-Writer published his first novel. Upon closer inspection, however, he realized the book could have been written better, and he later discovered that his sales were minimal. He began to think about his writing process, and he sent an e-mail to his editor.
Here are three reasons why writers should get to know their editors in order to make a blasé book shine:
1) The “Fit”
Writers and editors must be able to work together. Therefore, take the time to choose an editor who will be the best fit for you, making sure that he or she has experience working with your book’s genre.
Ask potential editors for references and follow-up to see what other people think about their ability to edit carefully.
Call potential editors on the telephone and discuss their accomplishments. Go fishing—talking about anything you like in order to get a “feel” for the person on the other end of the line.
Pose specific questions: about editing style, years of experience, turnaround times, and the types and number of books the editor has previously worked on.
Get the editors’ details: rate per hour—do they charge per page or per word; payment plans—do they require money up front, payment after the job is complete, or in segments; their preferred communication style—would they rather discuss projects over the phone, through email, or in person.
Writing a good book is more than just putting thoughts down on paper. If a well-written book could speak to the reader, one of the things it would say would be what happened behind the scenes; communication is crucial.
Writers and editors need to communicate frequently in order to make their books the best they can be, leaving readers satisfied.
As a writer, if there is a word that should be replaced or a paragraph that would improve the flow if it were placed elsewhere in the text, help your editor understand what has been written and why but be sure to do so in a courteous and respectful way. You may be an expert on your book, but editors are experts in their field too.
Effective communication, or lack thereof, can produce a bestseller or a dust-gatherer. Plus, a lack of quality communication can lead to damaged relationships and a loss of time.
The writing process should not stop once a manuscript is sent to an editor. Writing should be a two-way street, whereby the writer and editor work closely together and learn from each other.
A writer and editor may even decide to read each chapter together after it has been edited. This process, although time-consuming, can help create a near-perfect book, as the writer and editor find errors and discuss how to improve the writing flow.
Additionally, writers should work with their editors about cover design, back cover blurbs, introductions, author blurbs, glossaries, and acknowledgments. Plus, they should discuss the publishing process, how to find a publisher and format their book, and even ways to save money while doing all of this.
Everyone has weaknesses.
As a tip for writers - allow editors to make suggestions about ways to improve your writing. Editors can even suggest particular books that can help improve upon a specific writing weakness—the use of commas, for example (check out Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss).
The creation of a solid team allows for criticism, both ways; all criticism should be constructive, not destructive. If a book is so poorly written that it cannot be edited in a cost-effective way, editors should politely tell writers to go back to the drawing board.
Rest assured, the writer will contact the editor at a later date, assuming the framework of a solid team has been established.
Teamwork is all about working together to make a book the best that it can be. So, as a writer, make sure that you do not undervalue the importance of your relationship with your editor.
After dealing with his first editor, Mr. Disappointed-Writer realized that he should have taken the time to make sure they were a good fit before proceeding; he chose his next editor much more carefully.
Mr. Disappointed Writer talked with his new editor for a long time and worked very closely with him, creating a solid team and collaborating to improve the quality of his book. Within one month, the book became a bestseller and Mr. Disappointed Writer changed his name to Hap E. Writer.
Dennis De Rose has been an editor, working mostly with fiction books, for six years. Plus, he is the creator of a free marketing newsletter called “Moneysaver Marketing Minutia,” which he sends out to over 600 writers. You can learn more about Dennis here and please feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.
What do you think about Dennis’ relationship-building tips for working with editors? What criteria do you have when selecting an editor for your book? Let us know on the Be A Bestseller Facebook fan page.