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Sage Advice #3: Editors Aren't Your Enemies

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Their job is to make your incredible story even better

Editors aren't here to make you feel bad about yourself. They don't wield the almighty red ink pen as a power-hungry move to control the outcome of your story. Their goal isn’t to produce tears and frustrations. They’ll never stand over you with hands on their hips, declaring, "Bah-hah-hah-hah-hah!"

We writers love our words. They're words that we've labored over and poured our hearts into to help tell a story. For us, to delete them is tantamount to having surgery. It hurts like the dickens to have them extracted from one of the best paragraphs we've ever written; at least, we think so in our humble opinion.

The job of an editor is no easy task. We can help make it easier for them if we respond like the mature people we suppose ourselves to be. Here are some things to remember about editors:

1. They're not the enemy. The editor is for you and wants you to do well.

2. They're here to make your incredible story even better.

3. Allow yourself to grow thicker skin. Lay down your defensive attitude and don't

be easily offended.

4. They're here to help you with the process. Although the editor isn't an agent or

publisher, they can give sound advice to help maneuver the hurdles.

5. Trust their experience. They know what they're doing.

6. They'll be okay if you don't make every recommended change. It won't offend

them. It's still your story and you have the final say about the end-product.

7. One size doesn't fit all. If you don’t relate well with an editor, move on. There's

one out there who'll understand what it is you desire to accomplish.

8. Find an editor with expertise in the genre you wish to write and publish. (A

nonfiction editor who specializes in adult themes won't be effective editing your

children's picture book.)

9. You’re the first editor for your story. Check for spelling and grammar errors. Do

your homework and find out what word processing format the editor requires.

Follow those guidelines. (Hint: They’re not suggestions.)

Editors are human beings just like us with feelings and emotions. Treat them with the same respect you desire to be treated with...even when they wield their red ink pen. Remember, it’s a good thing.

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