Saturday, August 12, 2017

5 Ways Authors Can Enhance Author/Editor Collaboration

by Jean Kavich Bloom

Most writers care about their readers, and editors do too. Editors also value authors' caring about collaboration with their editors. Here are five ways I think authors can enhance the author/editor relationship. (Next month I'll share what I think editors can do to enhance that collaboration.) 

1.     Acknowledge an editor's expertise. If an editor has a proven, positive record within the publishing and author communities, that reputation deserves recognition. Not as a pat on the back, but as a springboard for great collaboration with you. Professional editors aren’t (or should not be) out to change voice or make manuscripts their own. They’re commissioned to boost the effectiveness of authors' writing and help them connect with their readers, and they work hard to do that. 

2.     Consider every editing suggestion. One level of editing is strictly about correct spelling, grammar, and so on. Other editing levels—especially in macro or line editing—include what I call “suggestion” editing. In other words, the editor sees ways a writer can improve or enhance the work, and not just for the sake of change or in a willy-nilly fashion. I recommend taking those suggestions seriously, with careful consideration. Sometimes authors say, “At first that idea seemed like hogwash, and then I thought about it.” But…

3.    Be upfront and honest. If you don’t like the way an edit is going, don’t like a suggested edit, or have any other issue with an editor, say so. Sometimes a glitch reveals the editor is not a good match for you, but many times an editor will simply adjust how she or he is going about the edit or how suggestions are communicated, to (within reason) better accommodate your personality or preferences. Some flexibility is required on both sides of almost any relationship.

4.    Express appreciation—if warranted. Just as a writer values words of encouragement from editors, editors value words of encouragement from authors. A time or two, I’ve been surprised to be asked to edit a second work by an author because they were so silent about my first edit. I thought they probably weren’t too thrilled with my work for some reason and would want someone else next time. Even a simple, “Thanks. You did a good job,” makes a difference.

5.     Consider acknowledgment in the final product or a recommendation. I’ve written before about why I think acknowledgments pages in books are important, and that includes acknowledging all the editors involved, as long as the thanks are genuine. Now, some publishers might not allow mentioning all participating editors for one reason or another, but I can tell you this simple act can be meaningful for editors, both personally and professionally.

       A word about freelance editors: Most of us have professional websites with a Recommendations or Endorsements page. I try to bravely ask authors I think have appreciated my work for a blurb on my “Author Testimonies” page, but for me, it takes working up the courage to do so. If an author asked, “How can I recommend your work?” I’d be over the moon! And anytime an author endorses my work by word of mouth, that's wonderful too. If you work with a freelance editor you like, consider how you might give a boost to his or her business.

If you have a great collaborative relationship with a writer as an editor, or with an editor as a writer, what do you think makes the most difference? Please share!

Jean Kavich Bloom is a freelance editor and writer for Christian publishers and ministries
(Bloom in Words Editorial Services), with nearly thirty years' experience in the book publishing world. Her personal blog is Bloom in Words too, where she sometimes posts articles about the writing life. She is also a contributor to The Glorious Table, a blog for women of all ages. Her published books are Bible Promises for God's Precious Princess and Bible Promises for God's Treasured Boy. She and her husband, Cal, have three children and five grandchildren.

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  1. Thank you for common sense advice and encouragement to be kind in all areas of life.

    1. You're welcome, Linda. May editors always be as kind as I've found authors to be. P.S., I just saw your great post on Seekerville!

    2. You're welcome, Linda. May editors always be as kind as I've found authors to be. P.S., I just saw your great post on Seekerville!

    3. Thanks for the pat on the back. I enjoyed the experience with Seekerville tremendously.