By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine
Today is my favorite editor’s birthday. Do you remember to thank your editor, not just after a project is done, but throughout the year?
An NPR article on editors shows just how valuable editors are to an author’s success. As the article states, “spending time getting a book noticed doesn't mean an editor doesn't edit. She often does most of the hands-on work at night or on weekends. And it begins when a proposal or rough draft is first submitted for consideration.”
"The first task is [to] just take it at face value: What is this writer trying to say? What is the project of this book?" Saletan explains. "Once you understand that, then you have to make tough decisions: Is this a good idea? Will there be an audience for it? Is this the right person to tell the story? Do they have the ability? If they don't have the ability, what's lacking? What can you bring to it? That's all the initial phase of evaluation. What I'm looking for is a mind that is capable of grappling with the structure of something as big as a book."
“But in today's competitive book market writers need an extra edge. So some literary agents, like Chris Parris-Lamb of the Gernert Co., give a client's book its first edit.”
"I don't see what I do as substituting for the editor," Parris-Lamb says. "I want to make sure we have an editor."
“The editor has the power to accept or reject a book, says Parris-Lamb, so he needs to give his writers every advantage. He wants to be sure the manuscript that is being offered to publishing companies is as good as it can be.”
"After I've taken something on and before we send it out, we say: Let's take another look at this," he says. "Let's go through this really closely and let's spend some time before this goes from being a Word document in my inbox to a book that we're sending out to publishers."
If you’re giving yourself a head slap because you haven’t thought to thank your editor. No worries. It’s never too late to show an editor kindness by just saying thank you for helping you become a better writer. So, Happy Birthday, Lily, I appreciate your talents as an editor! I also want to gratefully thank my editors, Susan and Doyne at Southern Writers Magazine.
I’d love to hear praises from you about what your editor has done for you.