March 22, 2013

How to Work with an Editor

I've worked with editors from numerous publications—the Christian Science Monitor, Mothering, and Highlights (to name a few).  Below are ten suggestions when working with a publisher. 

* Be polite.  Whether you are writing an email or talking on the phone, use Ms. or Mr. until told otherwise.

* Be respectful.  Refrain from phoning an editor unless she has invited a call. 

* Give an editor what she has requested.  If an editor wants a revision and has pointed out how to go about making changes, follow her instructions. 

* Send your manuscript on time.  Editors have strict deadlines.  Have your work ready to be submitted when it is expected.

* Develop a thick skin.  Editors have preferences and their opinions may be subjective.  If an editor rejects your work, it’s up to you to find another publisher.

* Be open to constructive criticism.  If an editor offers advice, listen well and learn.  Use her suggestions to improve as a writer.

* Be professional.  Never argue with an editor.  Ever. 

* Avoid being judgmental.  Never criticize an editor or point out her faults.  No one’s perfect.

* Be understanding.  If an editor has written an email that comes across as curtly, chances are she didn’t intend to offend.  Emails can be easily misinterpreted.  Write again and ask her courteously for clarification.

* Show appreciation.  Thank an editor for her time and help.  Tell her that you like the illustrations that accompany your work.  Thank her when you receive contributor copies.

Following these suggestions may strengthen your reputation.  It’s important to establish a good working relationship with those who will publish your work.

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