Thursday, December 1, 2011

How to argue with your editor

As I said in an earlier post, the writer’s relationship with her editor should be a professional one. Your editor is neither your mother, nor your best friend. She is there to work with you to make your book the best it can be. Therefore arguing with her about every comma and editing change is not a good idea. If your book is being published by a publishing house, there will be House Style which has to be followed. There will be set, unchangeable rules about things like semi colons and certain word choices. Arguing about these things is simply a waste of time, as the publisher will not suddenly rewrite their style manual for you.
Most publishers follow the Chicago Manual of Style. Again, if there is something you want changed that breaks the rules in CMOS, you can stamp your feet as much as you like, but your change is not going to happen.
Outside of these things though, if you explain to your editor why you want something expressed a certain way, she will listen to you. If it’s not possible she will tell you why. It may be that your sentence had simply been unclear and she’d misunderstood what you were trying to convey.
As long as you remain polite and professional, it’s perfectly fine to argue with your editor. Just understand there are some things out of her power to change.
Helen Woodall


Amber Skyze said...

Great advice. I'm please to say I've been lucky and hadn't had to fight to keep anything in a book. Though, I had a great editor. :)

Helen Woodall: Freelance Editing said...

Thank you for dropping in Amber.
Happy writing

Amarinda Jones said...

I can't be bothered fighting about commas and crap. I save that for dealing with dickhead publishers and 'missing'royalty cheques.