One of my friends sent me an e-mail earlier this week telling me that it's National Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month. I didn't know such a month existed. But I trust her to know since she keeps a list of all the various obscure holidays and observances.
Since I'm an editor (and since I'm unfortunately experiencing a lull in the action here at work--okay, maybe I don't consider that unfortunate), I thought I would compose a list of ways that people, particularly authors and writers-who-think-they're-authors, can be kind to editors.
- Don't send your editor the first draft of your writing. I had an author do this to me a few months ago. Author apparently was undecided about word choice, because Author often had multiple verbs running back to back in the sentence. And there were little notes like "Add description here." Apparently this manuscript was supposed to be multiple choice? Instead, you should send your editor the fifteenth or twentieth or fiftieth draft of your manuscript. And chocolate.
- Along those lines, at least pretend to run the spell check. It's not that hard. Please learn the difference between its and it's and whose and who's and lightening and lightning. Oh, and the plural is never formed with an apostrophe s.
- I know you think the world revolves around you, but--Surprise!--it doesn't. You're not my only author. And odds are you're not my favorite project even though I tell you that you are because it makes you feel better. Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't admit to that. Of course, you really do become my favorite if you send me chocolate.
- Please don't complain and gripe when I send you your rewrite instructions. Just do them. Trust me. I know what I'm doing. Even if you may be old enough to be my great-grandmother (yet still be vibrant and sexy) and even if you may have published a handful of novels with us for over a decade now and you think I'm far too young to know what I'm talking about. I edit over twenty books a year. I'm not completely clueless. So if I tell you that the last half of your book doesn't work, it's not because I'm on some maniacal power trip to give you grief. (I save my power trips for other occasions when you least expect it.) I'm just concerned about the book. And chocolate.
- I am not your enemy. In fact, I'm the only person in the company who (a) has actually read your book and (b) cares about making it the best book it can be. You may feel picked on and that your book has lost its integrity, but what you don't know is how much I fought to preserve what is there. So, yes, you might not have the section pages you wanted, but at least that was all I had to sacrifice to bring your book under page count; I could have just cut chapters. So instead of grief, you should give me chocolate.
So let's all be nice to our editors this month. I've cleared a space on my desk for the chocolate.