As a writer you will become friends with a lot of people but the most (or one of the most) important relationship/business will be the editor. The editor has the power to electrify your manuscript; they know what is hot in the genre they specialize in, they may have connects that you don’t have. They are basically god’s little writing cherubs. But I am not here to kiss up to editors; I am here to warn you about the shady editors. The ones that have no business being in business! Just because there are many clients under their belt doesn’t mean a damn thing! There are outlandish characteristics to look for in editors that will raise some eyebrows. This may be tough to point out during the many preliminary meeting of the minds (Always have several conversations with an editor you are considering. You wouldn’t marry the first guy/girl that walk thru the door would you? Never mind don’t answer that!) but as soon as you spot it do something.
Don’t let your inexperience control the situation. Some editors who have been editors for centuries will use that status to take over your project. It’s a fine line between suggestions and editors’ tastes spilling onto your papers. If you feel your editor is rearranging your story and you’re not comfortable with it then say something. Don’t let them say ‘well I’ve been an editor for such and such years. I know what I’m doing trust me.’ Your editor works for you, not the other way around. An editor should never be satisfied until you’re satisfied. Clues that you might have an overbearing editor trying to steal your limelight:
- Most obvious – never listens to your goals. Your editor should be able to read back to you what your goals are for this manuscript. It doesn’t mean they will always agree with it and will let you know that it doesn’t fit in the blueprint of your story but at least they know what you want.
- Their ideas are so far from what your book is about it’s insane! If you wrote a comedy and your ish come back sounding like an erotic story start asking questions. ‘Oh this is what’s hot right now.’ NO! That is not your work! If they want to write erotic tell their asses to work on a separate project on their own time, not yours!
- Attitude. Some editors will have that bougie air about themselves. They may be damn good at editing but that doesn’t mean they have to treat their clients like a step child. That’s your time and money they are messing with. Don’t play with peoples’ money. Plus clashed personalities will only end up in a brutal divorce. Who is going to get custody of the baby? LOL (ok that’s a bit much)
- Always saying yes. Whew I hate ‘yes’ people. They do a hell of a lot more damage than good even if it is blowing your head up. A ‘yes’ editor only has their best interest at heart or rather your bank account. Everything you say should not be met with a yes. You will never know what you need to improve on in your story, tread carefully.
These warning signs can get you started. Always make sure you’re comfortable with your new business partner. Did I miss something big? Or do you have a horror story to tell? I’d luv to hear it.
Peace and luv!