I sometimes feel like editors are the boogeymen that newbie authors are frightened with; the monster we're sure is hiding in our mailbox, ready to jump out with a rejection slip as soon as we're lulled into feeling ourselves safe.
I think we’ve probably all heard the horror stories. Editors who demoralize their authors with the comments they insert into their manuscripts. Editors who take you through rewrite after rewrite until your finished book bears little resemblance to what you wanted it to be. Who ask for changes, big and small, for no reason other than to change things. I know that at least some of these stories are true, but I have to admit that I’m one of the lucky ones. My relationship with all my various editors have been terrific.
Well, okay, there may have been a Final Line Editor or two whose suggestions had me screaming at my computer screen, but that’s a story for another day.
In an ideal world, an editor functions as a midwife-slash-cheerleader, cheering you on, motivating you when all you can think about is changing your mind and calling the whole thing off, helping you birth your book-baby in a way that benefits both of you. She’s not trying to take your baby away from you, but if she happens to feel a bit proprietary toward the finished product, well, I have no real problem with that. Help me make my book better and I’m happy to give you the credit or doing so.
It’s been a difficult year for me, writing-wise. It’s been pretty rough personally, as well, but that’s beside the point. And, right now, I’m feeling endlessly grateful for the support and enthusiasm I’ve received from my editors. It’s not that I need to have my hand held or my ego stroked, but all the same it is enormously motivating to know that someone whose opinion you respect believes in you even on those days when the words aren’t flowing and your characters have all gone fallen silent.
Writing does get lonely from time to time. It's nice to know you have a partner.