Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to be an Author that Editors Love

At the SCBWI Carolina's Fall Conference last month Atheneum Executive Editor Namrata Tripathi shared ways for finding a good editor. But she also shared the following list of tips for how to be the kind of author that an editor will love working with.

Here are Namrata's tips:

1.) Keep the lines of communication open between you and the editor. (If you don't communicate they can't read your mind. But also don't freak out and call or email them 27 times/day. One call or email should be sufficient. Give them at the least a couple of days to get back to you. They have a lot of meetings every day, and Namrata says "keep in mind that your editor does have other clients too.")

2.) Let the editor know if due dates that are set are unrealistic, early on. Namrata says when editors set publication schedules "there's money attached to that project for that season. If it's not ready in time, there's a big money hole that the editor has to answer for and take the brunt for."

3.) "If you feel like your vision is being derailed, please speak up."

4) Tell the editor what works for you -- what type of editorial feedback is helpful, what type of technology you are and are not comfortable using...

5.) A dream author is their own self promoter, working hard to promote their book. Dream authors try to build support on their own and then have the publishing house suppliment it.

6.) Tell your editor about your special skills/knowledge (contacts, blog skills or other internet presence, authors you know who can write blurbs in your book, etc.)

7.) SAY THANK YOU. (A good editor loves your book as much as you do, but their name won't show up on the cover -- yours will. Thank them for the work they do to get your baby out into the world. Many authors do this by thanking their editor in the front of the book. But thank you's during the publishing process go a long way too.)

And every good list of "Do's" needs at least one "Don't" So, here is one from Namrata. Please...

8.) Don't send rude emails. If you wouldn't want your mother to read it, don't send it. (Act like the professional that you are, and treat the editor like the professional that he/she is too.)

And my favorite quote from Namrata's presentation sums up the editors' loving role as they help authors bring new books into the world. She said:

"We (editors) are midwives to many, many babies. And we have to think that (each one) is as cute as yours."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Finding an Editor - Tips from Editor Namrata Tripathi

At the SCBWI fall conference last weekend I was pleased to meet Atheneum Books for Young Readers' Executive Editor Namrata Tripathi, who not only gave helpful tips about the publishing industry, but who also demonstrated that editors are cool people both behind the desk and away from it. : )

During one of the break-out sessions she spoke about how to find the "right" editor for you.

Yes, yes, I know that most of us authors out here are just hoping to find AN EDITOR, ANY editor, forget about whether it's the RIGHT editor to match our personality, our book, and our career goals.

But I think the tips Namrata shared about finding the "Right" editor deserve strong consideration. Check them out.

Namrata said:

1.) Try to find (submit to and accept a contract with,) someone who shares your personality. This should also be someone who publishes the kind of books you like to read and the kind of books you like to write.

2.) "See which editor and which (publishing) house is interested in developing your career over the long term."

3.) If an editor, or more than one, becomes interested in your work, figure out what it is that YOU will need from your editor (compatible personality style for working together on revisions, similar communication style, etc), and consider whether the editor expressing interest in your book can meet those needs.

4.) If an editor offers to buy your book and thus take you and your book forward in the publishing process consider the revision process that editor is requiring. Ask yourself "How much work/revision am I going to have to do" based on this editor's vision for the book? And "am I going to have to go in a direction that I do or don't agree with?"

Great suggestions, Namrata. It's good for us as authors to remember that we don't have to put our "babies" in just anybody's hands. We can carefully submit our work to editors who we like, who like and can work professionally with us, and who love our babies as much as we do.