Your editor is your spokesperson to the rest of the
publishing company. How well do you
know your editor?
What level of communication works best for you and your
editor? If you prefer e-mail and they
prefer phone conversations, you better figure out a workable compromise. Trust plays a big part in all this. If there can be a strong author-editor line
of trust, both parties will be more comfortable dealing with less formal
communication. It’s a two-way street,
of course, which is why I didn’t simply say, “the author needs to earn the
editor’s trust.” You’ve got to have
enough of a dialog before the contract is signed to feel the editor has your
best interests in mind as well.
What if you run into a problem? What if you’re about to miss a deadline? Unfortunately, many authors choose to sit on
bad news, partly because it’s human nature. Resist that temptation. The
earlier you give your editor a heads-up about a possible issue, the more time
the two of you have to troubleshoot the problem and take evasive action.
What if there’s a promotion tied to your title and the
availability date is critical? First of
all, your editor should tell you about that as soon as they know. Assuming they’ve done their job, it’s
important for you to alert your editor if you anticipate any problems meeting
the deadlines you’ve been given. Keep
in mind that accounts will drop your book from a promotion in a heartbeat if
the date is missed. That can mean
the difference between getting 4-5 or more copies (per store) into a large
chain vs. only having 1 or 2 copies in the chain’s top stores.
Missing a due date is a serious problem, but not the end of
the world. I say that reluctantly
because I don’t want to encourage authors to start blowing off dates. Give yourself and your editor the best
chance to succeed though, and keep an open line of communication.
P.S. – Don’t let your editor bully you into
delivery dates you can’t possibly hit. Take a realistic look at your schedule and make sure you know what
you’re committing to. If the editor
truly values you and wants you involved in the project, they’ll find a way to
make the schedule work for you. Every
publisher would prefer a well-written book a bit later to a poorly written one that’s
“turned in on time.”