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Are You Working Against Your Editor?

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

As a professional editor, I frequently help authors who have never worked with a service provider before. Whether obtaining the assistance of a publishing assistant, a marketer, a cover artist, or an editor, these authors sometimes make crucial errors that might completely affect their expectations and the ability of the service provider to deliver on project promises, especially when it comes to deadlines.

Professional editors are often booked months in advance. And while they do usually incorporate a couple of extra days into their projected timeframes in case of incidental delays, there are ways you as an author client can unknowingly hinder your own scheduled project.

If you are set to deliver your manuscript to your editor by the 1st of the next month and you don't actually send it until the fifth, you've just delayed that editor by five days. Depending on how many hours of editing an editor works in each day, this may drastically delay when your edit will be returned to you. Not only will your editor need to take into consideration the initial five missing days from your project, but the edit may be delayed even further if it spills into days already scheduled with a subsequent client. Your editor will need to prioritize the next edit in line, spreading your edit out in any extra spaces. That initial five days lost to your project may end up costing you a total of ten or more, depending on how busy your editor is.

It's very easy to get frustrated in these situations. Publishing itself causes authors a great deal of anxiety, even in the best of circumstances, and if something has happened to delay the project, that only increases those negative emotions.

On the same token, I've had clients who have scheduled preorders prior to hiring me for extensive edits. It's a proactive action that does allow the author to feel in control of the entire process in the midst of chaos. When you have a definitive goal to work toward, it's easy to make the assumption that everything else will fall into place. However, this isn't always the case.

For a client who has worked with me through multiple projects, this wouldn't be a concern. We've already hammered out our communication, established our expectations, and fallen into a trusted author-editor rhythm. I will already know what that author's strengths and struggles are and how heavy of an edit I usually need to do for them, which helps us establish early on how much time is normally needed.

However, if a client is new and has never worked with me or another professional editor before, choosing to create a preorder prior to hiring the editor isn't the best option. What happens if you schedule a preorder for thirty days later, then hire a developmental editor? What if that developmental editor finds substantial issues within your narrative trajectory? I advise new clients to wait to schedule their preorders once we're in the final stages of the editing process. This way, you are never racing against the clock, which can cause an increase in error.

And lastly, make sure you're open with your editor about the project's payment schedule and any issues you might encounter. Many editors will not return edits prior to the final payment being received. If there were payments at different stages of the editing process and you missed one or more of them, your editor might have acted out of caution and halted their work on the edit.

Always, the most important factors of the author-editor relationship are communication, trust, and patience. Don't be in a rush to publish. Don't be in a rush through your edits. If you hire a professional editor, trust their experience and expertise and listen to their guidance. You've got this!

If you're looking for a professional editor, feel free to check out Horrorsmith Editing's services page.

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