Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Editor of the Year

2 B Read
Silhouette editor Patience Smith has just been named by members of PASIC (Published Authors Special Interest Chapter) as Editor of the Year.

Though she's never been my editor, I've had the opportunity to speak to her a few times at dinners and PASIC receptions, and she not only has a great understanding of the industry, but she also has a great memory. She must. She always calls me by name!

More importantly, her authors love working with her. Every year they nominate her for this prestigious award. I've known some of her authors, and they praise her.

To earn an author's respect, IMO, an editor can't just be a pushover who tells you everything you write is perfect. A great editor knows how to stroke -- while at the same time offering suggestions to make your book the best it can be.

I think it's hard for an author to nominate her editor for such a prestigious award if the editor is disorganized, forgetful, haphazard about returning phone calls or e-mails, or careless about paperwork -- especially paperwork involving the author's payment!

And, most importantly, a good editor will go to bat for her author against senior editors and the marketing department. IMO. Am I being too Pollyanna-ish?

In the nine years since I sold my first book, I've worked with three editors. I'm sorry to say I did not nominate any of them for Editor of the Year. Because of failings in the aforementioned. All three of the editors had many good qualities, and I respect all of them.

How about the rest of you? Do you think my criterion is too high?

1 comment:

JoAnn Ross said...

No, I don't think your criterion is too high, at all. I've had about 13 editors over the years (once four (!!!) on one book, which was, as you can imagine, no fun at all) and while a handful actually had me leaving the publisher, there've been five I would've nominated if the award had been available. One of them I was able to nominate last year. And again this year. And, if I'm still working with her next year, I'll undoubtedly nominate her again.

One thing I'd add is that a great editor also has you remembering from time to time that writing can, at least occasionally, be fun. Because it's too difficult to keep doing if it isn't.