Some publishers have chosen to downsize the number of in-house editors but instead to rely on freelancers. That decision raises the question, What does an in-house editor do for you?
Having been such an editor, I have personal insights into what fills an editor’s day, but I’ve asked some publishing veterans to weigh in on the question as well.
One of the first items that occurs to me is that an in-house editor serves as your advocate.
When You Lose Your Editor
Ever lose an editor mid-project? The heart goes out of the process; no one else seems to care the way your editor did. And you thought the entire publishing house was excited about your book! Why would losing one person make such a difference?
Carol Johnson, who pretty much launched Christian fiction by publishing the likes of Janette Oke and then steered Bethany House for many years, says it this way, “First and most important is the in-house editor’s ‘ambassador’s role’–repping the author to the House and the House to the author. Having someone in person on site where decisions large and small are being made about a project you’ve invested blood, sweat and tears to create is worth far more than advance dollars.”
The In-House Editor as the Author’s Champion
Jan Stob, the Director of Fiction at Tyndale House, sees an editor’s job this way: “An acquisitions editor’s job is to not only acquire but also to help communicate the vision for that product and/or author throughout the company. Having acquired a product, I have a vested interest in seeing it succeed. I become the in-house champion for this author and his/her title.”
Whatever word you attach to the job–advocate, ambassador, champion–editors see themselves as the party responsible to take care of your manuscript once you hand off that precious baby.
The In-House Editor as Publishing’s Hub
The editor is the hub around which publishing’s wheel moves for your book. If marketing has a question about the book’s content, if the book designer wonders if an approach is working, if the proofreader thinks she’s found a major error, each individual will turn to the editor for guidance.
Now, here are some questions to respond to:
- Have you experienced an editor leaving a publisher while your project was being produced? How did that work out for you?
- What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the editor you’ve enjoyed working with most?
- If you’ve not had the chance to work with an editor yet, what quality would you value most in one?
Why is losing your in-house publishing editor sometimes fatal to a project? Click to tweet.
What an in-house editor can do for you that a freelance editor can’t. Click to tweet.