Be Nice

I am a writer. No big news there. But what many of you don’t know is that I’m also an editor. I’m the content editor for one of the larger online publishers. I’m not an acquiring editor (I don’t buy the manuscripts or offer contracts), but I do all the rest of the work. I go over the manuscripts I am sent line by line, word by word. I look for misspellings, inconsistencies, plot holes, grammar, etc. I go over each manuscript I do a minimum of four times, with the author. I research things I don’t know, or ask the author (in bubble comments) for clarifications. I’m the person who looks for your mistakes.

I’m not infallible. I make mistakes too. Which is why we have a second editor – a line editor – who goes over it another time to find anything we (the author and I) missed. Though I attempt to make your book the best book it can possibly be, I am human. Things slip through.

But there are times…

I recently was working on a manuscript that the author had previously self-published and it had now been bought up by my publisher. No surprise. It happens every day. I went over the book with a fine tooth comb and found some issues that needed to be addressed. I pointed them out to the author.

And got royally creamed by the author’s higher than mighty attitude. Her comments to me were belittling and, in one case, cruel – basically that I didn’t know what I was doing, etc. I will cede one of her points. I’m not fluent in the language she was using (some European dialect) and though I googled the term, I could not find it in any online dictionaries. So I questioned it. And was taken to task for my stupidity and given a link where to find it. She was correct and I admit to my error, but degrading me for an error does not endear you to me.

So to all the writers out there – I ask you this – please be nice to your editor. We work hard to make your books better. Yes, we have off days (everyone does!) and we make mistakes, but we do our best. We do this job because we love stories, not because we’re getting paid well (trust me, we’re not!). If your editor has made an error, discuss it with him or her nicely, don’t malign them. It is possible to point out your reasoning without being nasty. We could all use a little more nice in our world these days. Help an editor out. Be nice.



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