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There’s something about editors that scares people. I’m not sure why. We’re a happy-go-lucky, cuddly bunch…

Okay, maybe not so much. We do tend toward exacting standards, a martinet demeanor, and fanatical grammar tendencies. Warm and fuzzy we’re not, but there are ways to safely approach the savage editing animal.

To understand editors is to realize that they aspire to perfection in the final product. (If you’ve ever dealt with a perfectionist, you know that they are perpetually frustrated.) Editors want to make sure the writers say what they want and the readers get what they need. This isn’t always easy when you factor in money, time, and personalities. 

When approaching the untamed editor, a writer should make the effort to soothe things (read as “meet some of the editor’s needs”). 

  • A writer should make sure the piece is in the correct format and as clean as the writer can get it. (Do not present something handwritten in pencil on note paper; you might lose your head!)

  • Make yourself open to the editor’s suggestions. There is nothing more exhausting for an editor than a writer who fights over every little word and comma. 

  • Writers should reveal some of their concerns with the piece. Maybe one section is too awkward; maybe the spelling stinks; maybe commas cover the paper like reverse snow. Editors respect writers who can clue them in on things to watch out for.

  • Both writers and editors should agree on and understand the process. Editors should be able to make minor changes but let writer implement any suggestions for major changes.

Sure, an editor might still be a bit rough and grumble after all this, but chances are there will be no blood.

 


Comments

07/17/2015 3:14pm

We are excited that you're sharing these awesome tips in our newsletter! You are an extraordinary editor, Annette.

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07/20/2015 4:59pm

Thanks so much for the opportunity and support! (Hey, any chance I get to proselytize for good writing...)

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05/30/2016 10:13pm

There are many responsibilities to become a professional editor. I agree with this post. The writer must consistent to get the updates for the editor. It should be systematic. It should be a two way communication. The editor will talk to the writer and the writer will talk to the editor. It should have a basis. I learned that the basis of the editor for his/her work is for the target audience. Marketing is to satisfy consumer needs and wants. The editor wants to reach the target audience through his editorship.

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01/20/2016 12:34am

I really like your last point. I think that what is most important is that the editor and the author are on the same page and that they acknowledge that they are on the same team. The author should be fully aware that the editor is his aid and ally, not an antagonist who just wants to give him a hard time in getting his book published. On the other hand, the editor must make sure that he gets where the author comes from. This is to avoid his firing away insensitive, just-for-the-heck-of-it comments.

Brilliant, helpful article!

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02/12/2016 11:42pm

I'm excited to discover this site. I need to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff on your blog.

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05/21/2016 6:18am

Nice advices. Thank you for them.

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06/02/2016 2:40am

You may believe that sharing your feelings with your partner may create additional stress for them.

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