I’ve mentioned before that I don’t particularly like numbered-list blogposts. They just feel artificial to me. So…um…here’s one about editors. Sorry.
1. We edit because we love books and writers but also for the money.
2. It’s a good thing we love books and writers. (And Ramen noodles.)
3. We don’t laugh with maniacal glee while slicing and dicing our way through your manuscript. We know how hard it is to write, and how much harder still it is to share that writing with a virtual stranger – especially someone whose job it is to find all the things that don’t work. We do, however, cringe and swear a lot. This is not because we hate you. It’s because we like you and want you to succeed and are frustrated because you aren’t there yet. (Or may never get there. Yeah. We do think that about some of you. Thankfully “there” is a subjective place that doesn’t necessarily mean lack of publishing success.)
4. We have nightmares about your stories. Sometimes this is because the story is scary. Sometimes it’s because the writing is.
5. We fall in love with some of your characters. The best ones move into our brains, just down the street from Katniss and Hermione.
6. We drink a lot of [coffee, tea, Diet Coke, wine, whiskey]. Pick one. Or five.
7. We understand and fully endorse the health benefits of a standing desk. We sit anyway.
8. We frequently feel invisible. How often do you hear published authors talking up their editors? Yeah, it happens. Just not very often. We’re mostly okay with this, because we sincerely welcome an author’s success. But every once in a while we’d like to be recognized for the role we play.
9. We read a lot. Not just the manuscripts you send us, but also the books that pile up on our virtual and/or actual nightstands. Reading good books is how we get better as editors. Yes, I know. It’s how you get better as writers, too. See? We’re not so different.
10. We do our level best to know and wear your writing voice when editing so the notes and changes not only resonate with you, they sound like you. Sometimes this is easy. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible, like when you haven’t written enough to establish a voice yet.
11. Once in a while we get things wrong. Editing isn’t a science; it’s an art. We have off days just like you do. Listen to our advice, consider it carefully, but don’t ignore your own inner editor. Because it’s your book. We’re just trying to make it your best book.
12. There is no twelve. I deleted it because it didn’t add anything to the narrative. Sometimes we do this with your manuscript too.
13. We respect you a lot. But we respect your story just a little bit more. Don’t take it personally.