« Questions for Me? | Main | Tech Tip #21: A Shortcut Writers and Editors Cant Live Without »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Patricia Boyd

The older I get, the more forgiving I am with unskilled writers. But I do find that when I reassure the author that if he or she doesn't like my changes, the original can easily and cheerfully be restored, I get better responses. (Though in truth, I do grumble to myself about stets, but I have resignedly written an "undo" keyboard macro so that the task isn't too reprehensible for me.) I too always go back through my comments, many of which get deleted or modified. Sometimes, I'm just so taken with a sentence or two that I want just to write a non-editorial comment (such as a compliment or my own observation that backs up the author's point). Most of the time in these situations, though, I refrain, or relegate this to the author letter. I know what you mean about sometimes having a hard time finding something to compliment in the author letter. But being a mother does help. Remember how we'd encourage our nonathletic kids after a soccer game? "You really ran hard [albeit away from the ball]!" I make similar comments: "Your passion for milky spore grub control really shines through in this manuscript!"


One of my book publisher clients is really good about giving me background information about an author before I start an edit. I can find out what the history of the project is, what the author's goals are, where the sticky bits are, what delicate sensibilities I need to be aware of. I also google the author for information. Is the author respected among peers, egotistical, insecure, strictly business? Does the author have a sense of humor? After that I initiate my first contact and set the tone based on what I've found out. This approach has helped me to successfully deal with the person, who happens to be an author. Each author I've worked with in this way has been happy with the editorial process, even if I was able to get the author to soften on a previously hard-line stance. Sometimes editing is as much about finesse as anything else.


Oh, for crying out loud. What an ugly link. I need to fix that. You can reach me at [email protected]. Thanks, Jeanne Hansen

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)