by Barbara McNichol
As editors, we may think we know what authors want , but how often do we test our assumptions and ask?
I did just that by sending out three questions to approximately 125 clients and 300 authors in my circle. From the 40 thoughtful responses I received, I got a much clearer sense of what worries authors when it comes to the editing process. They told me that . . .
- They’re concerned about the editor changing their “voice” while editing—altering their style so much that it doesn’t come across as their own. As one person said, “Sometimes editors add their own ideas rather than helping the author express his or her own thoughts in a clearer, more concise way.”
- They don’t want the “juice” in the original writing to be watered down by too much word-whacking (which is a term I use).
- They’re concerned that an editor isn’t sensitive to subject matter, that they’ll approach editing mechanically rather than engaging with the material and delivering on the book’s objectives.
- One author talked about his previous editor being out of tune with his effort to convey something unique. He said, “This editor never invested in my passion and the spirit that I wanted to come out in my writing.”
What worries you? What would you add to these comments? (Look for more questions and answers in future blog posts.)