As an independent substantive and developmental editor, I have been very lucky to work with many wonderful authors whose stories are amazing, and with whom I have developed strong friendships. Being part of their journey from manuscript to published book – or from woe to go, as I like to say – can be surprising and delightful and telling and exhilarating. Those people remind me how much I love what I do.
Unfortunately, in the past 23 years, I’ve also worked with a handful of authors who were not so wonderful. They made the editing process difficult for everyone involved, either because:
- they weren’t open to the editing process and what I could bring to their particular equation,
- they had a bad experience with another editor and carried all that baggage into our dealings,
- they insulted and denigrated me – usually by email – if I couldn’t take on their manuscripts or they didn’t like what I suggested,
- they refused to pay some or all of the amount due, despite me doing what they asked, and/or
- they took advantage of my willingness to go the extra mile on their behalf.
Having your work edited can be tough, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a difficult process, for any of us. Professional editors are an important part of the “I want to publish my book” journey. Most of us care deeply about your manuscript and treat it, and you, with the utmost respect. Sometimes what we have to say is disappointing and frustrating and, yes, even painful to hear, but all the work we do is in the best interests of your story.
Regardless of the type of edit your manuscript needs, for the author-editor relationship to work, there has to be trust on both sides. And the only way to get there is if we respect each other and the process of editing.