Writing Excuses 4.8: Working with Editors

Jessica Day George, author of The Dragon Slippers and a host of other things, joins us to talk about working with editors, and she’s got stories to tell. But so do Dan and Brandon. And hey, surprise! Even self-published Howard has an appropriate anecdote here!

What should you expect when you work with an editor? Are they going to ask you to add sex and violence, or are they going to demand that you tone everything down? Are they going to buy your book and then force unconscionable changes down your throat, or are they going to warn you before the contract is signed?

The answer is, not surprisingly, yes. Editors may do all this and more. Or less. More or less. Have a listen…

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, by Jessica Day George

Writing Prompt: An author and an editor are disagreeing on a matter that nobody else would ever think to disagree on.

This episode of Writing Excuses has been brought to you by Audible.

Visit http://AudiblePodcast.com/excuse for a free trial membership*.

*Note: From the Audible website, here are the terms of the free membership. Read the fine print, please!

Audible® Free Trial Details
Get your first 14 days of the AudibleListener® Gold membership plan free, which includes one audiobook credit. After your 14 day trial, your membership will renew each month for just $14.95 per month so you can continue to receive one audiobook credit per month plus members-only discounts on all audio purchases. A very small number of titles are more than one credit. Cancel your membership before your free trial period is up and you will not be charged. Thereafter, cancel anytime, effective the next billing cycle. Any unused audiobook credits will be lost at cancellation.


15 thoughts on “Writing Excuses 4.8: Working with Editors”

  1. For Howard: Bonus stories will sell books to me. The only web comic books I will even consider buying are ones with bonus material. I like supporting my web comic artists, but I have a limited budget, so if I have to decided between buying a web comic book with bonus content and one without, I will always choose the one with bonus content.

  2. Very interesting podcast. What I would have loved to hear a bit more is from Howard, how he, as self publisher works with this. I have published a couple of books in very small niche markets and each time the editor has helped me become a better author, but now on an experiment in writing I’m running, I have nobody to actually go and give me the kind of feedback an editor would give you.

    To make matters worse, Howard faces the same problems as I do in my experiment now, writing in sequence so there is something new once in a while, or as for Howard every single day. It would be interesting how he battles those problems and what his replacement for a standard ‘traditional’ editor is, if there is one.

  3. This podcast reminded me of the beginning of that movie “The Majestic”. In the first scene, Jim Carrey is a Hollywood writer who’s listening to the producers talk about his script, and the producers decide to change the main character into a dog, and the look on Jim Carrey’s face just says it all.

    Seriously, though, I bet most of the people listening would kill just to have an editor to disagree with.

  4. Off topic, but I wanted to wish Howard a happy birthday in some quantum space between yesterday and today. (The birthday was in the quantum space, not the wish.)

  5. I’m going to have to stop listening to these while I’m eating lunch. Jeez, how many times in one minute can you guys say “urine and vomit?!” :^/

    Can’t say I’d kill to have an editor to disagree with, but I would definitely set a penguin on fire.

  6. Howard you lie!
    You do too have an editor, her name is Sandra and from what I’ve heard she is a cruel taskmistress.

    And happy birthday you sushi fiend you.

  7. Jessica–

    Yeah… I’m reading the Dragon books to my sons. Ages 8, 6, and 4. They love them! :) Is that so wrong?

    Also, I’d probably be just fine reading a book with a poker game in it to them. It’s not strip poker, is it? :)

  8. This podcast had me giggling.

    My almost-editor difficulty: the professor editing my thesis is afraid to confront me on changes he wants, so he won’t discuss them. Sigh. I suppose that won’t be a problem if I ever have a real editor.

  9. @NH Mike: Good to know. Thanks for weighing in. Of course, that piece of anecdotal evidence doesn’t prove to me that the opportunity cost of the bonus story pays for itself. Without bonus stories I could put books out faster. I might sell fewer of each, but more altogether. Still, I’m not planning on dropping the bonus content. I’m creating the books I would want to buy.

    @Christian: Outside what I shared in the ‘cast, my own experience wasn’t relevant to the topic as we defined it. Sure, we can talk about how I get by without a traditional editor/author relationship, but that would fill 15 minutes all by itself.

    @Katya: Thank you!

    @WEKM: It’s not really the same. She’s more of an alpha reader. Or a co-author. Though she is the one issuing me my paychecks.

  10. I’m kind of surprised how much Jessica discloses here about her author-editor relationship. Is it usually a bad idea to be so open about an ongoing professional disagreement? I was under the impression that it was.

    Even with the somewhat awkward disclosure, however, great podcast. When I get that phone call from an agent/editor, I’m going to ask them what their vision of the work is before I freak out, sign a contract, and take all my friends out to dinner. Thanks.

Comments are closed.