10 Ways to Screw up Working with an Editor

what doesnt kill  you makes you stronger

High Fives! After months and months… or years and years, you’re finally able to hold that completed manuscript in your hands.

Can you say “Next hit on the New York Times Bestsellers List? “Booyah!!”

Now what?

Well… you might feel ready to submit your manuscript to publishers. And you should, especially if you’ve gone through one, two, even three or more revisions.

Then again maybe you’d prefer to go the self-publishing route. Again, go for it. However, before embarking on either of these paths –especially if this is your first book- consider submitting your work for a review by a professional editor.

Why? Well, unless you’re already a commercially successful author, chances are your “new baby” isn’t the next Pulitzer Prize winner you and Aunt Trixie think it is.

Working with an editor is a fact of life for all successful writers.

Even if your manuscript is accepted by a publishing house, you should expect to have it critiqued by a professional editor with the expectation you, the author, will incorporate this feedback into yet another revision (or two…or more). The purpose of this process is to make your story as powerful as possible.

Unless Aunt Trixie is a trained professional word slayer, it’s next to impossible to accomplish this without the trained eye of an experienced editor.

Now this is important -we can pretty much guarantee that you’re going be upset when you get your manuscript back from an editor.

Three words to bear in mind:

Get Over It!

Okay, a few more words… If you’re committed to creating a masterful piece of prose, you’re going to need to learn how to work with an editor. But not all writers are wise enough -or open enough- to make the most of it. So our Editors have pointed to these 10 tips on how rookie writers (and even some veterans) can royally screw up the process of working with an editor.

1)    DON’T set aside time to revise your work based on the Editor’s feedback (if you don’t plan to do this, you are not ready for an editor)

2)    DON’T listen to feedback. Instead argue with your editor.  Stand your ground since they don’t understand what you’re trying to convey and should accept your writing as is. I mean, YOU KNOW, the reader will love it.

{Hint: The story needs to stand on its own. You’re not going to be there to explain yourself to each and every reader. In other words: Suck it up- you’re going to hear things you don’t like and it’s your job to fix it.}

3)    DO continue to tweak anything you’ve already sent to your editor! Continuing to revise your work after you’ve sent it to your editor is the surest way to confuse her and run up the cost of completing the editorial process.

4)    DON’T use spell check on your manuscript before sending it to an Editor. Why? It’s like showing up to an interview in shorts and flip flops. Heck, spend your dough on a professional to simply correct for laziness! You go War Bucks!

5)    DO ask a bunch of people to give their opinion of why your editor is wrong. Spend time and money trying to change your Editor’s mind.

{Hint: You’re paying an editor for advice. When you hire an editor, you’re stating that you trust them. Telling her that your friends think she’s wrong is the best way to convince your editor that you’re not a serious writer.}

Tim Staveteig My Literary Coach has this to add,

6)    DON’T form a partnership with your editor. They are idiots. Wing it Baby!

7)    DO assume your editor is out to ruin your book, make you look silly, or punish you for their bad childhood.

8)    DO think your book is just the way you want it and no major changes are warranted.

{Hint: Publishers assume your manuscript is plastic—that is, it can be remolded to fit specific readers or market conditions.}

9)    DON’T follow your editor’s direction. You’re the brightest bulb in this field of tulips!

10) DO assume the editor is an unqualified idiot not capable of writing prose with your command of the language.

{Editors read books and book reviews in their genres. Over time, they develop personal lists of where to focus editorial energy. When an editor flags something in your manuscript for review, they will apply their wisdom of how book strategies work in the marketplace. Your editor is saying, “This doesn’t work very well. Here is how I would change it.” You don’t need to accept exactly what the editor has written. Yet, you need to address the issue that has been flagged until your editor is satisfied that the piece will do the job it’s intended to.}

You’ve worked long and hard on your manuscript. Don’t you owe it to yourself to seek professional advice to make it shine? Of course you don’t…. you know it all! ….yeah.