Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: A Wine Country condo, Mt. Hermon Writers Conference Career Track Planning Retreat
So far this week we’ve talked about two responses to the editing process on your contracted manuscript. If you aren’t sure the editing is helping your manuscript, you should:
1) know your rights–what is appropriate to ask to be looked at again?
2) know when to trust your editor.
And today, I want to talk about your need to know when to relinquish your opinion.
You’ve gone back and talked over the changes with your editor, and the two of you are at loggerheads over some issues. You’re sure you’re right; the editor’s confident she’s right. What to do?
I’d suggest that you ask for neutral but professional feedback. That would be your agent. Your agent’s job isn’t to work through each and every nitpicking change the editor made but to discuss with you the more sweeping adjustments. Because agents read many manuscripts and often have been editors, they can bring perspective and help to discern what editorial changes are puzzling.
One of my clients was sure her manuscript needed to end a certain way. But the editor thought that ending wasn’t resounding and had her own idea about the conclusion. No amount of conversation seemed to move either party.
So I read the two endings and realized the editor was right. I explained to my client why I, as a reader, preferred the one ending over the other. My client was reticent to agree.
So finally, I said, “The publisher has invested a lot of money in your manuscript, and every one there wants the book to be a huge success. All those of that professional team who have read the edited version of the manuscript like the ending. If I bought this book, I would find the ending satisfying. Not one of us wants an inadequate conclusion. So, ultimately, you need to trust our opinion.”
The author agreed. The book comes out next year, and I’m willing to bet that, once he receives letters and emails telling about how readers’ lives were changed, he’ll decide the edited ending must have been okay.
Ultimately, as with every creative effort, we have to trust the opinion of those around us who have been at this biz for quite some time.