Monthly Archives: December 2013

How to Talk to Your Editor

 I heard something terrible recently: A top editor admitted to me that he isn’t signing up debut authors because they take up too much of his time. Now, before you hate this guy’s guts, consider that his job responsibilities have multiplied in the last few years at the same time that thousands of new people want his attention. He can’t go to the men’s room without someone handing him a manuscript or pitching an idea. During the last twenty years I have been published by Random House, Doubleday, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster, among others, and all of my editors have been hard-working and thoughtful people who truly love books. They don’t have as much time as they used to, however, and publishing is a complex (weird, actually) business. If you are a fledgling author and you think the squeaky wheel gets the oil, it’s not true. No matter how high up you climb, editors love authors who are polite, professional, and do not bug them to death, especially if all you want to do is vent or worry. (That is why God gave you friends.) If you have a question and you think you can get the information from your agent or a professional organization, try them first. Two organizations that I belong to are Authors Guild and ASJA (American Society of Journalists & Authors). Even if you don’t join, or aren’t qualified yet to join, study the public portion of their websites. Last but not least, be wary of all the negative talk about publishing; there are people eager to make money off your fears and dreams.

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