Queen Bee ~ King Contrary
Editing has begun. There won’t be much to do. Your work is nearly perfect, if it isn’t actually perfect. You’re smugly dreaming about the editor contacting you, to say your book is going back to the publisher because absolutely nothing is wrong with it. Visions of becoming your publisher’s number one author dance through your head.
Great dream. Fabulous dream. We all dream this one, but it’s not real. Yes, that’s right. It’s not real.
You will have some time before your editor contacts you. That is time to prepare for the process which can be quick or slow, depending on you and how you accept your edits. There are a few types of authors you should avoid being during this process.
The Control Freak: This is your book. You have sweated buckets, given up family time and sleep, and now you will control this aspect of the pre-publication process. No one will tell you anything about our book is wrong. Absolutely nobody. They’ll soon learn that you are in charge.
Or you could find yourself having your book released by your publisher. You could have your book edited and presented to you as “this is the way it will be.” One thing you can count on if you take on this persona—you will not receive a contract with this publisher again, and more than likely word will get out that you are hard to work with. Yes, publishers compare notes. Who wants to give their problem child to someone else?
The Queen Bee: You know her. She irritated the life out of you in high school, always buzzing around with everyone hanging on her every word because they were afraid of her acid commentary. Don’t turn into your worst enemy during edits. You’re going through what every author has since editors came into the picture. Your editor is your best friend right now. No matter what you think when you see those edits, your editor will remain your best friend during this time. Their only job is to make your book the best book possible, and they can’t do it if you insist on being the Queen Bee.
Let’s Approve Edits in Committee Princess: You know her. She can’t do anything without the approval of her friends. They must pick apart everything and come up with a better way to edit her book. Nothing the editor says they must do is right. They argue, they whimper, they ignore emails to please get the edits back, so the book can be finished. Ms. Approve Edits in Committee will finally send back round one, having done edits herself that she believes are important, and ignoring what the editor has done, expecting him or her to accept the superior knowledge of her committee. Solution? This is your book, and only yours. You certainly have the right to question an edit, but be prepared to explain why. Oh, about the committee? Meet them for lunch. Talk about your concerns, but when they offer to help, tell them that you have it under control. You’ll be happier in the long run.
Mr. Whine: Very few things raise the hackles on my neck, but whining definitely wins the prize for being number one. Constant emails about “Where is my editor?” “My editor hasn’t contacted me.” and “I hate my editor because they’re mean.” sent within hours of being introduced won’t endear you with the editor in chief. If anything, whenever an email comes in with your name on it, the editor in chief will ignore it until they’ve finished with the rest of their overfull inbox. Whining is not being a professional, and you are now a professional.
King Contrary: No matter what anyone else says, he knows everything about everything. King Contrary has an opinion about any aspect of his book, and he isn’t afraid to voice that opinion. He will make your life miserable, unless you agree that he is the most knowledgeable person on any subject he claims to know. He also wants to control every aspect of pre-publication of his book, since no one else knows as much as he does, even if he doesn’t have a clue.
Mistress I’ve been published by publisher X, Y, and Z, don’t tell me I can’t get what I want: Okay, you’ve been published by several publishers. Your books are on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and a host of smaller sales venues. Nice. Great even. As an editor in chief, I will be looking at your rankings and reviews. I’ll be checking to see how well you promote your work, and I’ll also be searching your name, to see if there is anything important that I need to know. So, your attitude that no one can do it as well as you, or that you know the best editor, cover artist, proofreader, formatter and we either use them or you’ll hire them yourself doesn’t fly. This is Publisher A. We do things our way. We have a certain style we use and certain rules we expect our authors to follow. Your attitude fits and analysis of the people employed by us doesn’t fly.
Have I met these people? Yes, but I’ve also exaggerated their faults. This is just an observation of those I’ve dealt with since taking my position. Do I get frustrated and shout at them? Okay, I’ll admit to the frustration, but my method of dealing with them is more professional and brusque. Remember, the editor in chief works for the publisher not the author. The editor in chief will do as the publisher wants, although if you suggest calmly and professionally that something might work better using method b rather than method a, you might be met with a thoughtful “I’ll look into that.” instead of a “This is the way we do things.”