Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve been here. I’ll keep the reasons to myself, but I needed to recharge, and that’s an understatement. And I didn’t think I had anything to say that hasn’t been said a million times. Who wants to read another writer or editor blabbering on about the trials of the trade.
Still, it struck me that I’ve been changed by my experience these last months–many months now, editing for Decadent publishing. I’ve had some plum assignments, too. I won’t mention many names, because then I’ll leave someone out, but Rebecca Royce and Initiation, Rusty Fischer and Ushers, Inc. come to mind (opposite ends of the spectrum). I’ve been mostly working on Young Adult books (I was a YA reviewer for years), and I simply love it.
But here’s the change. I now have this weird dual perspective on things. I’m very sensitive about trying to maintain a writer’s voice, while gently pointing out (okay, sometimes not so gently) when they’ve slipped into a mud puddle or need a tire change. (The line editors take care of the stuff I’m really bad at–like grammar–guh.)
I’ve seen really funky emails from writers (and yes, I’ve penned a few of them in my day), and some overzealous editing. Whining and acceptance. Compromise. It seems to me that the very best writers I’ve encountered are the ones anxious for a second opinion, for someone to ask for clarity. They are devoted to a good product. They love to write. Some people are so attached to their work, and they seem to simply want to see their names on a book. But the best–they really love to write, and want the best for their readers.
Editors–don’t tell an author you’ll get back to them in a week and then not bother telling them it’s more likely to be a month. Authors–don’t brag about the word count on your new book online when the editor knows you have edits sitting in your inbox. Editors–say something nice. Just one thing, or two. An “I love this ending!”, meant sincerely, can go a long way. Tell authors what you love about their work. That means: “do more of this!” to them and give them instruction as well as warm fuzzies. Authors–“you don’t get me” isn’t an answer. I’m a reader. If I don’t get you, someone else is also likely to not get you. The person who spends money on your work. We can compromise, we can ask for a second opinion, sure. Be flexible.
Scream, curse, cry, pound a pillow, put a picture of your author/editor up on the wall and throw darts at it. But do not, do not, do not air your gripes in public. Be kind to new writers. Be kind to new editors. And while you’re doing that, be yourself, as neurotic as you need to be. That’s what makes you so good.
My 2 cents, nothing more.