September Newsletter - Vol. 51
“Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship.
It won’t work if you don’t trust each other.”
Last month, we discussed how to trust an editor during the selection process. Putting your book into someone’s hands for corrections can be a scary process, especially if you’re a new author or if this is your first time working with a new editor. So, after you’ve painstakingly selected a well-recommended editor who gave you a stellar sample edit, how does trust work during the editing process?
One of the biggest forms of trust involved in editing (for both the client and the editor) regards deadlines. Editors set aside a particular chunk of time for every book. If the author is late submitting their manuscript, that means the editor has to work faster (and risk making errors), they have to postpone the next client, or they have to overlap manuscripts in a way they didn’t intend. If the editor is late returning a book, the author may miss important publishing deadlines. That’s why at Joy Editing, we have a late submission penalty for clients, and we offer a credit to clients if we’re unable to complete their book on time.
Some authors like to hand over their manuscripts and ignore them for two or three weeks. Others like regular updates. There’s nothing wrong with either preference, but it does help to discuss that with your editor beforehand. At Joy Editing, we always send one update email after we finish our first read-through of a book. If you want more regular updates, that’s an option, but we like to know that in advance.
Unless it’s an absolute necessity, we never recommend asking for your completed edit in sections. While it may feel like a good way to keep an eye on your editor’s progress, it can also leave your editor feeling micromanaged. You’ll end up with multiple drafts with changes in them, and merging documents can be tricky. Also, editors frequently go back and make changes to earlier sections while they work. So the “completed” section you received may not actually reflect what you would have received if you’d waited and gotten the whole edit at once.
We often tell clients that you can reject a change you don’t like, but you can’t accept a change we didn’t make. We prefer to leave copious red marks in a manuscript, trusting that the author will go through them carefully and choose which edits they like. We never want a client to blindly accept everything we say as gospel. If you need to know which CMoS rule backs up a particular change, ask us. If you really don’t like a change we made, reject it. Even better, if you’re self-publishing, you don’t have to argue or fight us in order to reject a change. It’s your book. You make the call.
We hope this edition and last month's may have provided some new perspective on the importance and place of trust within the editing process. It is always important to remember that it is a process. Communication and adaptability are key on both ends, and that's part of what makes our work so fun and exciting. We love that every project is different from the last.
Until next month, take care and enjoy the end of your summer. See you in October!