By Peg Brantley, Writer at Work, Stumbling Toward Publication
Strong marriages yield strong results. Strong results strengthen marriages.
In a traditional publishing relationship, most writers are assigned his or her editor. It’s an arranged marriage. Some of them work, some of them don’t. It’s a crapshoot.
The world has changed, and now writers actually have choices. So do editors. We’ve entered the equivalent of the 60’s. Well, sorta.
Assuming we all agree every writer needs an editor in order to fulfill herself (and vice versa), the important thing here is to find a good match. Ideally, you want to create numerous offspring, make a lot of friends, and grow old together.
As I approach the time when I’m ready to enter into a relationship, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that the first collaborative effort, and subsequent offspring, is like living together first to test the waters. Can we communicate? Do we have the same goals? Will you respect me in the morning?
Here are some things to consider (in no particular order) before you move in together:
- Do you love my genre (or general genre)?
- Who are your current partners?
- Who are your former partners and why did you part ways?
- How do you prefer to communicate?
- Do you have a personal philosophy regarding editing?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How long does it take you, on average, to complete a project?
- Are you too cheap? Too expensive? (This is not a trick question, although it can be tricky.)
- What professional writer/editor organizations do you belong to?
- When and why did you become a freelance editor?
- What biases do you have that might reflect in your edits or editing style?
- What are the main ways you feel you help a writer take their work to the next level?
- Have you ever left a relationship early because you hated something about it?
I fully understand not all of these questions are going to be answered right away. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have them.
For those of you who have made the commitment, or experienced the pain of divorce, what should I be looking for . . . or looking out for?