Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tips for Dealing With Your Editor

Despite the fact that you may spend 4-14 hours per day typing away in isolation, writers don’t live in a vacuum all the time. Once you break into the freelance writing world, one of your main contacts is likely to be editors. These are the people that dole out assignments, accept finished work and likely provide direction. It is in your best interest to proactively manage the writer-editor relationship. Here’s some simple ways to make sure you’re doing your part.

Take Responsibility.
Despite the editor’s role in your writing, the writing is still your job. Turn in the most flawless work you can. Seek answers to your own questions. Find and use the best research and resources available to you. In this way the editor is like your boss: make their job as easy as possible, and they’re likely to return the favor.

Understand Where They’re Coming From.
It is the editor’s job to protect the final product, whether that product be a magazine, a website or a company’s marketing materials. The editor isn’t out to get you- he/she is out to produce the most perfect final product possible. Understanding the editor’s job will go a long way toward making your job more pleasant. Accept their feedback, make the revisions and get on with your life. No one wins a power struggle!

Communicate. . .And Do It Well.
This is probably the number one thing a writer can do toward making an editor-writer relationship work. Understand the editor’s needs, the company’s needs and the product you are providing. Procure all the information you need to do your job well. Ask questions, listen for answers, and take direction well. These are all part and parcel of communicating with your managing editor.

Incorporating these simple strategies into your relationships will help you to work well with your editor, resulting in a positive experience for both of you.