The author-editor relationship is such a unique and complex one that it’s important for every serious editor to outline their approach to editing. The editor role can be a mysterious one and to complicate it more, if you work in or around the publishing/writing scene long enough, you’ll find that editors operate in all sorts of ways. You’ll find editors who are “by the book” and severe, and on the other side of the spectrum, you’ll find editors who do nothing more than proofread. There are editors who work in publishing that rarely work with copy/text, too.
An editor’s true purpose–regardless of position in publishing–is to ensure that content is received by an audience in the most effective way possible.
- My approach to editing is to always maintain the author’s unique voice. What the world really needs are authors who can change the literary landscape by providing only what they can–their voice and ideas. We have more than enough Stephen Kings and Tolkiens and it’s high time we walked away from praising the false Whitmans and Vernes in this world. Dear writer, where can you take us?
- My approach to editing is to question weaknesses. It’s less embarrassing for an editor to bring something up than a reader because readers turn into reviewers. I’ll question historical references, character inconsistencies, structure, etc.
- My approach to editing is to maintain a respectful discourse and experience–on both sides. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that edits can sometimes jab like harsh critiques, but as noted in the prior bullet, it’s less embarrassing for an editor to bring a flaw to a writer’s attention privately than for a reader to reveal it publicly. As I respect creative differences, I appreciate working with others who do, too. I only want to work with creatives who have one endgame in mind: produce only the best work. If a writer plans on being combative to feedback or is looking for someone to pander them, I’m not the right editor for them.