Learn to Let Go: Working with an Editor

Keys on a keyboardCongratulations! You’ve got a publishing contract! But now, you have met someone called an editor who is going to work with you to get your book ready for publication. What do I mean by ready? Isn’t it already ready? Isn’t that why you sold it to, say, Penguin/Random House or HarperCollins?

Sadly no. It’s only now that a lot of the work begins.

An editor is the crucial second pair of eyes, dedicated to making a good book a perfect one. You need to learn to trust them. They only have one job: making your book the best version of itself.

But haven’t I always told you (more than once) to be selfish in your writing? Absolutely. But that stage is done, and now it’s time to move onto the publication stage. This is the stage of collaboration, and yes, compromise. But it’s all for the greater good of the finished piece.

The biggest challenge is that it requires you to be less protective of your “baby”. Let go of the strong emotional connection you have to the work.

But keep a copy of the finished piece you handed in to the publisher in the first place. That is draft one, and no one will ever take it away from you. But now it’s time or teamwork.

I have to be blunt about this: If you can’t trust your editor, then you either need to walk away from the deal or get the publisher to find an different editor. And in most cases where this rift has taken place, it’s not the editor at fault. And most publishers know this.

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