I have received a number of great questions lately, either posted to the blog or e-mailed directly, and I’m busy trying to get through them all. One of my favorites though asked how I choose editors to submit my clients’ work to. The reader asked if I have favorites I submit everything to or if I submit to editors knowing that the client and editor might not get along, but it would sell a book.
First things first, yes, I do have favorite editors. It’s something I’m going to discuss in a later blog post, but there are definitely editors out there if, given my druthers, I would have every client published with. That being said, though, I do not necessarily send those editors everything I have for submission. Because sadly, they are not the right editors for everything my authors write.
Okay, on to the question that intrigued me the most because it’s not something I’ve ever thought of: “Do you send to editors that you know in your gut the client may not get along with (editor is rigid, client is laid-back; editor is evasive, writer really needs consistency) in order to sell a manuscript?”
When choosing editors to submit to my first goal is to find editors I think will want to buy the book. And unless I’m wrong I would assume my clients would want me to do just that, but please tell me if I’m wrong. I assume your goal is to find a publisher and sell a book. The truth is that while there are a lot of editors out there, there are not necessarily a lot of editors who buy the exact book you are writing. I debated saying this, but I’m not sure it’s my job to judge who a client can get along with. This is a business, not a dating service. Ideally I would like to find an editor who is perfect, who can please my author in every way and who my client can get along with beautifully, but editors are people too, and frankly, I don’t always know how an editor is going to act or treat a client until we’re in the midst of a relationship. An editor can be one thing for one author and someone completely different for another. Some of that is based on the personality of the author and some of it is based on outside forces that I can’t control. For example, I have known editors to be nothing but charming and receptive, beautiful people to spend time with. When I talk to authors, though, their impressions might be completely different, some might think the editor is difficult, abrasive, and hard to get along with, while others have the same feelings and reactions I do. In other words, until you’re married to a person it’s hard to know what they’re really like.
In the same way, I don’t know that I can always judge an author’s personality either. I’ve had authors who are seemingly the most laid-back, calm authors I’ve ever met.They never seem fazed by anything and always just go with the flow. Until they get a book contract and then, wham! It’s someone I’ve never met before. I had no idea this person needed any hand-holding, that she was a nervous Nelly or that she would be difficult in any way. So while there are definitely editors I’m not thrilled to submit to, my goal is to submit to the editor I think will be the best advocate for the book.