'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 15 September 2012

Publisher's Insider: The Author/Editor Relationship

The author–editor relationship is an interesting one. On the one hand, it’s a professional relationship. Two people come together to make the text of a book the best it can be. Due to the wonders of technology, they might never even meet face-to-face, but will correspond via email and phone over a period of weeks or months until the manuscript is pronounced ‘ready’.

On the other hand, it’s a very personal relationship.

The author has usually poured their heart and soul into their book. The result is a piece of them, often infused with personal experience and carrying with it many of the author’s hopes and dreams. And while many authors are happy to trust the editor and embrace their input, there are some who feel that their manuscript is perfect just as they wrote it and so resist the editor’s perceived attempts to ‘meddle with it’.

At times, the editor might need the tact of a diplomat and the patience of a counsellor as well as good grammar and a talent for shaping a story!

So if there were just two things I could ask an author to keep in mind when working with their editor, I would say:

1. Be open to editorial suggestions. A good editor is always working in your best interests to make your book the best it can be, so enter wholeheartedly into the process and make it a collaborative experience.

2. Despite point 1, never lose sight of the fact that it’s your book. If you feel that your editor is trying to turn your book into something it’s not or that they’ve suggested something you simply don’t feel comfortable with, speak up! If addressed early on, these kinds of issues are usually easily resolved.

Anouska Jones is our KBR Editor. Mum to a gorgeous little girl, she has nearly twenty years' experience in the book publishing industry. A publishing consultant and editor, Anouska is obsessed by all things to do with words, writing and books.