Nov 3, 2009

Thanking one's editor

I think it's an occupational hazard of being an editor - my job is creating more work for writers who were really hoping they were done with their manuscripts.

Some authors really enjoy editing, and many actually gush at me over how happy they are that they won't be sending their work into the world with huge gaping plot holes and ellipses where there ought to be dashes.

But many others seem to fall into a catatonic "holy shit look at all this work I have to do" mode when they see their corrections, and the anxiety causes them to forget to thank their editor. Especially on the various writer's websites I participate in, I see this happens a lot.

In one group the other day, a woman posted a query letter that was basically a disaster. I gave her some great feedback, several paragraphs of information and some links to groups she should be checking out. Her response? "How about this: [New query letter pasted in]." So...her response was "no thank you, but can you do it again?" Um, yeah. No.

Anyway, it's fine. I see where the authors are coming from - they're getting hit with all this stuff and it's hard to feel grateful - like if you meet a plumber on the street and he's super nice and comes over for coffee and spends half an hour checking out your plumbing for free, and then tells you you've got a bunch of problems and are going to have to get $5000 of repairs or your house is going to melt. By all rights you should be thanking him for donating his spare time and saving you from not realizing there was a problem until your house collapses, but in the moment all you're thinking is "oh no, what am I going to do?"

I love metaphors. Thank your editor. Thank you.

1 comment:

Diotima said...

I can only refer to Miss Manners in times such as these. There is all too little of the gentle art of courtesy. It is so warmly engaging, and yet, so rare.