Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
As publishers continue the trend not to retain in-house editors but to use freelancers, the question becomes, Why didn’t publishers do this sooner? What good is an in-house editor, anyway?
Having been just such an editor, I have personal insights into what fills an editor’s day, but I’ve asked some editors to weigh in on the question as well. This week we’ll also explore how to choose a freelance editor, if you want someone to polish your manuscript or if you’re self-publishing.
Let’s start the week’s discussion with in-house editors and the contributions they make to a manuscript.
One of the first items that occurred to me is that an in-house editor…
–Serves as your advocate.
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.”
Jan Stob, from Tyndale House, sees her job this way: “As an acquisitions editor, it is my job 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 editor is the hub around which publishing’s wheel moves for your book. If marketing has a question, 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. And that leads us to the second aspect of an editor’s job, project manager, which we’ll look at tomorrow.
In the meantime, 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?