When an author is blessed with a solid working relationship with an editor, that editor becomes a valuable source of information. Sometimes an editor's work is done when editing on a specific manuscript has completed. The author and editor then speak again when it's time to work on the next book. Then there are times when an editor's work never ends. It could be that because I'm a constant work-in-progress, I'm a little more high maintenance, or perhaps it's because I trust the opinion of my editor and therefore seek out advice, or perhaps I just enjoy the casual conversation, even if that conversation is about one of her other clients.
My editor doesn't stop communication the moment a book goes to print. She doesn't stop asking questions or answering mine. When she goes to a conference or book meeting, and is introduced to beneficial tips for authors, she passes those along. If I've decided to move in a specific direction with my next book, I'm comfortable sharing those thoughts and ideas so she understands the direction I'm going as a writer. It's this open communication that has become one of the most valuable sources for my writing.
An editor can be strictly a business partner, an associate, or perhaps become a friend, but one thing a good editor always strives to be is steeped in the writing industry. They are constantly learning and networking, working to better their foothold in the industry. If an author has a sound relationship with their editor, that education is passed onto the writer, and networking opportunities are passed along. The information sharing doesn't end, and if you're lucky, neither does the camaraderie. Does this sound like you and your editor?
Whether you're currently working with an editor, or seeking one out, ask yourself a few questions.
- Does my editor teach, not tell?
- Do they share useful tips and valuable information with me?
- Do the lines of communication remain open?
- Am I loyal to my editor, and are they loyal to me?
- Is my editor looking after my best interests?
- Do I see myself in a long-term working partnership with my editor?
Don't forget that it goes both ways. If you have special tips or tricks which can be useful to your editor or their other clients, don't be afraid to share them. Also don't make the mistake of thinking the work rests entirely with the editor. Once the information floodgate opens, absorb everything you can, learn from mistakes, and consult other resources to further your knowledge.
Can you answer "yes" to all of these questions? What's your favorite thing about working with your editor?
Disclaimer: As always, my editor does not edit my blog posts, so I take full responsibility for any errors.