Saturday, January 2, 2016

Editors - the Writer's Natural Enemy

I want to make this clear: I didn't come up with the title of this post.

I was searching online (for what, specifically, doesn't really matter) and ran across this post on George R. Martin's website:

Editors: The Writer’s Natural Enemy

The author (maybe you've heard of him, or his Game of Throne saga?) gave a speech in 1979 where he talked about the importance of editors.  Now, his definition of editor may or may not still work here in 2016 (especially considering the rise of indie and hybrid authors and the general state of traditional publishing) but I found some of it highly amusing:

Left to their own devices, writers talk about only three things; the three most important things in the world.
They talk about money, they talk about sex, and they talk about editors.
Money and sex are things that most writers want and never get enough of. Editors are things that most writers don’t want and get all too much of. I’ve often heard writers ask other writers why there have to be editors in the world.
But later on, he has this to say: 

Yes, there are a lot of ways for editors to go wrong.
Fortunately, a surprising number of them go right. It never ceases to amaze me. What is a good editor like? A good editor offers you decent advances, and goes to bat with his publisher to make sure your book gets promoted, and returns your phone calls, and answers your letters. A good editor does work with his writers on their books. But only if the books need work. A good editor tries to figure out what the writer was trying to do, and helps him or her do it better, rather than trying to change the book into something else entirely. A good editor doesn’t insist, or make changes without permission. Ultimately a writer lives or dies by his words, and he must always have the last word if his work is to retain its integrity.

I hope that I am in that category of editor (copy editor and proofreader, really) for my authors. I'm not looking to be the enemy of the author - I want to be the champion, the cheerleader, the advocate, the supporter ("If you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter!" - bonus points if you know where that quote is from).

So, I am looking forward to a grand 2016, supporting and cheering on all my authors as they continue their careers and fulfill their writing goals and dreams.


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