Things Every Good Editor Knows That You Need to Be Aware of as a Writer
You usually get good-to-excellent results when you submit your writing to specific publications. Building favorable results and connections keeps you returning to places you like. You like the audience, the feel, the outcome.
It’s good to switch hats on occasion, to see things from a different perspective. And always bring your sense of humor. ‘Laughter is good medicine,’ as you commonly hear. Life is too serious if we can’t laugh at ourselves once in a while. Let’s switch hats, and get ready to laugh.
We are Not Adversaries
Read that again. You and your editor are not adversaries. While that’s sinking in, allow me to deliver a 1–2 punch with this: We’re on the same team. You may feel like the relationship is adversarial, but let me assure you, it’s not. Have you ever published a book without an editor? If yes, skip to the next section. If no, it’s probably because the editor catches something you missed. You are often too close to your work to see something that needs to be changed. Maybe it’s a thought that needs context or a missing transition from one passage to another. Almost without fail, an editor sees things you miss.
If you’re submitting your work to a publication, hopefully, it’s because you believe that destination is the best place for your work and the success of the piece. Trust that the publication knows its audience best. Newspapers and magazines often analyze top-performing stories and see why they perform well. Because they study their statistics often, editors know best about what works well for their publication and may make suggestions to achieve the highest success. Trust those publications know something about their inner-workings that you don’t.
That’s worth reading again too. Editors don’t ask for edits because they are mean, evil gatekeepers who want to make you jump through hoops. If they ask you to make changes to your piece, it’s because they see something that will make it better. Scroll up. See point number one again. And point number two. Next, keep reading. Have you ever inquired about what will make a piece better? It’s easier to get to the end goal faster if you’re open to suggestions. Together we can work to produce the best copy possible.
Recognize your Social Audience is Different
Did you just scratch your head? If you have an independent blog, you have a niche of readers who are in tune with how you write. Unless your blog is on a social media platform as a standalone production, your audience on social media is different. Think about who is on the social platform you’re submitting your work to. Would you send the same piece to Time Magazine that you would go to The National Enquirer? I hope not. Adjust your writing to be strategic for the destination. Likely, you’ve got a different piece than the one you published on your blog or at least some tweaking to do.
See points 1, 2, and 3 again. Don’t overthink your work. This goes back to trust. And it’s a little different. Let’s say you get a note that your submission is going to print. This isn’t the time to keep making edits. Did you send your very best work in the first place? If not, then it wasn’t ready for submission. You sent your copy to an editor, who will handle it with care. How would you feel if you spent 20 minutes helping someone and then returned an hour later and they undid all of your work? Would you be a little miffed that they wasted your time? If you see something worth asking about, then ask about it. If your thought isn’t worth asking about, then trust. Think about your work, but don’t overthink it.
Publications Have a Strategy
Let me guess, you want your work out into the world as fast as possible, just like everyone else who has submitted their work. You have a window, a promotional window, and a strategy. Have you considered that your publication also has a strategy? Your publication is working for many writers’ good and the best possible performance of all stories, not just your story. It’s not an excellent strategy to have pieces of the same subject matter come out simultaneously. There’s a balance to strike. Keeping balance might mean that your story may not be published the second, or even the same day, your edits are complete. Be patient. It’s for the good of the story to be released at the optimal time, which isn’t always as quickly as possible.
What’s the best compliment you can give to a publication? Other than a thank you note on occasion, the best thing you can do is promote your story when it goes live. If you’re proud of your work, and hopefully you are, promote your story. Add thanks to the publication as you do, and your publication will likely reciprocate. Do this often, and your publication will probably smile when they see your name on a submission. When pubs know you do good work and promote it well, they are likely to go the extra mile for you.
Go the Extra Mile
Take measures to be friendly. Establish good relationships with editors, and they will likely make an extra effort to help you succeed. Be resistant, rude, sarcastic, or threaten, and you may not get the reception you’d hoped to receive. Don’t forget you are on the same team and have similar goals. A symbiotic relationship is the best kind of relationship you can have with your editor.
Do you wonder why your editor doesn’t work faster? It may not be the speed as much as the strategy for the best performance. And, isn’t that a good thing for everyone?