Your Editor’s Pedigree

I’ve had fourteen novels, two collections, eight short stories, and seven anthologies published since 2010. Not once did I question the pedigree of my editor. I always figured that the publisher would be so focused on having a quality book that they would hire the best person for the job.

Much to my surprise, I discovered that people will Google their editor to find out how good they are at their job, and what kind of education they have. That honestly never occurred to me, but in hindsight, I should have done that for one editor who turned out to be less than capable at their job. Said editor, and the publisher who hired him/her, no longer has any of my books, but discovering the hard way that not all editors knew what they were doing was a real eye opener. Fortunately, since then, I’ve had nothing but stellar editors with my other publishers.

This is why I was so surprised recently when I was asked to assign an editor to an author who had a degree. The degree program should have been one that concentrated on English, or Language Arts as it’s now called. The way the request was worded upset me greatly, after the individual making that demand indicated the Google search she used had shown a person who attended a “public high school” and never got a degree, which was not the truth.

Needless to say, hurt feelings abounded, and I can’t blame the editor for feeling like this. I’m an editor myself, even though I never finished college. I’ve taken courses though, that allow me to do this job. Most of my editors have done that. Some have a natural talent and rely on the Chicago Manual of Style if they have a question.

So, should you question your editor’s pedigree? Or should you trust your editor-in-chief to know the person they’ve assigned to the job knows what they’re doing.

As I said, I only had one instance of a less than stellar editor, and that was the least of that publisher’s problems. If only one out of seven publishers made that big a faux pas, I think I can continue to trust the others.

That’s what it’s all about—trust.

Trust that your editor-in-chief is as concerned about putting out a good product as you are.

Trust that your editor is capable of doing the job at hand.

Trust that your publisher knows the people working for them and wouldn’t hesitate for an instant to get rid of a bad editor.

So, the next time you’re wondering about the editor assigned to work on your book, instead of creating a lot of hurt feelings, try something new. Ask your editor-in-chief about the person’s credentials in a way that shows you’re only interested in the best book possible, but are willing to accept their judgment of their staff.


Cyn L. said…
Editors understand that you as an author might be nervous about handing your baby over to a stranger. We get it, we really do! If you want to know our credentials, ASK. No one will take offense. If anything, we want you to be comfortable with us, and open, honest communication is the key to that.
KC Sprayberry said…
Exactly. It's all in the asking, and being honest and open. And nervous about handing over our baby? Well, maybe just a little...

Amazon changed everything. The market is open to anyone with the desire to put pen to paper. The internet makes it possible to search all kinds of information. Its only going to get more competitive and crazy as authors scramble to look for that competitive edge. My question would be this, "What's the point in asking about individual expertise. Instead, look at the publisher in whole, and read a few of their books if you want to know what you're getting into.
KC Sprayberry said…
You're right. However, the multi-genre author does have a little edge, as they can adapt to the marketplace's ever changing needs. Even mixing genres in a book can work for you, if you're careful.

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