What Your Editor Needs From You

[by Billi Joy Carson, Senior Editor/ Editing Addict]

Editor Tip: What Your Editor Needs From You

Respect

Your editor is going to spend weeks pouring over your manuscript. She (or he) is going to eat, sleep, and breathe YOUR book. She (or he) will be correcting spelling, grammar, margins, indents, spacing (line and character), punctuation, formatting sections (for consistency), comparing character logic and plot flow… Your editor is going to be BUSY. Don’t treat them like your time is more important than theirs—or like you are their only client.

A Timeline—So They Can Schedule YOUR Book

Your editor is not a magician. She (or he) has other clients, and those clients all have deadlines too. When you know you are getting close to finishing your manuscript (not the day before you plan on handing it over to your editor), notify your editor. They need to estimate the time needed on your book, and let you know when they can do it, and then add it to their schedule.

Communication, Because Deadlines EXIST

1) Again, stop treating your editor like they can do magic. They can’t. If you missed giving your manuscript to your editor on time, several things should happen:

If at all possible (I mean, come hell or high water), stay within the deadline of when you said you would give your editor your manuscript.

As SOON as you know you are going to be late, notify your editor. Their time is valuable, and they need to schedule in another project. Remember, they blocked out time for YOU.

If you are late with your project, and you didn’t give your editor notice, you should be paying a late fee. You reserved their time, and you did not cancel it. Respect them enough to pay for the slot you scheduled.

2) Tell your editor about your deadlines.

Ideally, you should have given your editor the manuscript with time to spare, but if you need a rush on the edit, then you need to communicate this. Also, all rush edits need to have a rush-fee. You are asking your editor to SUDDENLY include your manuscript in their schedule. This means something else has to be shuffled (or possibly dropped) for you.

Complete Files

 When you send your manuscript to your editor, it should be in one file (not broken out in sections, chapters, or parts). If you change anything after your editor has started to work on your manuscript:

Most editors will require a change-fee, because they have to transpose all their notes, edits, and changes to the new document. Some editors refuse to work with any changed manuscripts, so it is best to ask in advance.

Most editors work with .doc and .docx files only. Ask your editor what he or she prefers, and then—send them what they ask for.

If you send your editor files she (or he) has to convert (e.g. .wp7 when they asked for .docx), you are taking two risks:

Possible lost information:

If your editor has to convert the files:

It means she (or he) doesn’t have the program your files are saved in. Therefore, once conversion is complete, your editor will not know if anything is missing from your manuscript.

There is also the possibility that your editor can’t convert the file, and the file will have to be returned to you. This delays your editor, and shrinks her (or his) timeline of work—because the deadlines are still the same.

Abusing your editor:

You want a loyal editor who roots for, cheers for, and fights for you. Not one who resents you every time you send them your manuscript in the wrong format. See the first item listed on this page.

A Way to Reach You

 More than likely, your editor won’t need to speak to you during the editing process. Radio silence does not mean anything is wrong, it means they are steadily working on your manuscript.

If your editor comes across something that needs to be addressed immediately, before they get too far into the book, they need to be able to reach you. Email is a good way to communicate, because they can copy/paste the questionable areas for you to read, and give them feedback (e.g. your editor may discover that your main character’s name changed in spelling, but you intended a plot-twist, and need your character’s name to change; you want them to check with you before correcting all the names throughout the book).

Both communication and respect assure success; they also enable teamwork to grow and thrive between you and your editor—who is on YOUR TEAM, and desires to be there. She (or he) hopes you succeed, and is excited to be along for the journey. Your editor is dedicated to helping you grow, and cares that you keep learning how to be an amazing author.

Help your editor to help you. Teamwork brings success!

[by Billi Joy Carson, Senior Editor / Editing Addict

 

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