We learn in school about bullies, but not by the book. We learn when we experience bullying. Back in the day, before the 80s, we fought back. After that, it seems bullies needed special care, rewards. After the 80s, fighting back fell back on bullied kids. Punishment gets handed out to the victim now.
All along, though, through my lifespan thus far, the criminal has more rights than the victim. For instance, a burglar breaks in and the home owner’s dog attacks them. The dog’s owner is at fault in court.
Bullying is everywhere, so hopefully when we lived the kid life, we learned to expect it, protect ourselves. Don’t ever let ’em see you sweat. Block that punch. Verbal punches too.
This goes for the literary industry also. Some editors are kind, friendly and they invest in your manuscript, whether traditional or not. They tell you where you went off the rails, and they push your train upright again without insulting you.
Some editors use their skills to intimidate. A writer may end up feeling inadequate due to the nature of an editor who feels tired of their job, jaded, or one who has no patience. Attitude makes a writer or breaks a writer. Same goes for an editor.
Whether you’re assigned an editor in traditional publishing or smooth-talked into hiring one, they have your project, they have you, because your project exists as you.
My humble advice stands as this: the better it looks in email or a chat box, the better it sounds on the phone, the more work you need to do to verify not only the editor’s work and work habits, but the editor’s overall persona.
There’s a saying that we must be careful who we choose as our editor, because we marry who we choose. We do. We marry into a contract relationship as long as our book remains in print.
We have the internet. We can snoop information on potential editors. Some edit with the main objective of getting paid. Perhaps they used to love to edit, but long since ran out of patience for writers’ bloopers. Some love to edit, and they’re thrilled to make an income from it.
Some writers take on a manuscript because it’s a subject that pays well. Others write because the passion for writing lives strong. Which ends up as the better book? The writer who has passion or the one who hopes to merely pay the bills? Which editor ends up to please with both skills and a character that gives the writer confidence?
Spend time “dating” before getting married to your editor. It is and always will be a good idea to feel them out, discover their personality, and ask around about past clients before saying, “I do” trust you with my baby and me. Amazon lists editors on books. That’s a good place to start.
Not all editors bully clients. The publishing journey may go well and result in another book relationship.
I must say, though, to hurry the process could hurry the marriage. Don’t kiss on the first date. Bullies pucker up like anyone else.
Happy dating, fellow writers.
Thanks for reading.