A good editor can make any book better. A bad editor can make it worse. I’ve been fortunate to have good editors, with one or two exceptions. There are a few things editors, good or bad, should know about me:
- I resent you. Even though you’re just doing your job, I resent seeing my work marked up like a fifth grader’s book report.
- I hate going through the editing process because I already like what I’ve written. I also don’t remember what I’ve written because it usually takes me a long time to find a publisher for my books. Going back through the manuscript is not something I relish. I’ve moved on.
- Don’t Touch The Dialogue! These are my characters speaking. Their language may not conform perfectly to the Chicago Manual of Style because they are not Ivy League English professors. They’re blue collar people from rural Virginia, and their voices reflect that. If the grammar Nazi in you tweaks the dialogue, you’re changing the voice, tone, and character of my book. You’re fucking it up. Please don’t do that to me.
- If you send me your edits and say you need them back in a few days (even though the scheduled release date may be half a year away) I will go passive-aggressive on you big time.
You have to find something wrong with the book. I get that. Please confine your changes to problems with punctuation and grammar in the narrative, plot issues, syntax, point of view issues, and redundancies.
That’s it – nothing personal, unless you touch my dialogue. Then it’s personal.