How To Handle Feedback From Your Editor

By on January 9, 2019
How To Handle Feedback From Your Editor - Writer's

Getting feedback from your editor can be both exciting and challenging. It’s great to have someone look over your work, to help you get it in better shape, and bring you one step closer to getting it published and out there for everyone to read. However, having spent so long on your work it can sometimes be harder than you might think to accept what someone else has to say about it.

When you have poured your heart and soul into something, criticism, however constructive can feel like someone is profoundly wounding you. However, learning how to handle this kind of feedback will make the process easier and will help you to do your work justice too.

Here are some tips to help you:

Stay calm

Freaking out or going into a mad panic won’t help anyone. It can be difficult to digest if there are many more edits than you had expected, and it might feel as though your work is no longer your own. However, it is essential to approach this logically and dispassionately.

For a start even the most talented authors receive hundreds of suggestions for alteration from their editors - so seeing your manuscript swarming in a sea of red doesn’t make you a bad writer. Secondly, taking the time to read over each one will probably mean it might not be as bad as you think. You may see thousands of edits, but some of them will be as small as adding or removing a comma of adding a line break at the end of a sentence.

Review each and every change

At the end of the day, it is still your book, and you get the final say. So don’t just blindly accept or reject all the edits, take the time to go through each and every one. Some might be simple such as spelling or punctuation errors; others might take a little more consideration. Take your time, track all the changes, and make a note of any edits you decide to decline. If you deny most of them, you need to discuss this with your editor. You might have hired a bad editor, but it is more likely that you need more reassurance and a discussion will help you smooth out the finer points.

Feel free to ask questions

An editor has to accept that authors will want to raise questions where they don’t feel comfortable with a change - answering them is part of their role, and a good editor will be happy to explain why they think something needs to be different. So instead of panicking or feeling outraged, just ask what you need to ask - but make sure you have a legitimate argument for why you think the change isn’t necessary too otherwise you’ll end up looking like an egotistical author who can’t take feedback - and that’s kind of missing the point.

Return your accepted edits to the editor

An editor has a job to do too, and they have a reputation to protect. So many editors may expect that you return the manuscript to them if you haven’t agreed with all their edits. Some editors may even state this in their contract with you so make sure you read the fine print. If they want final approval, accept that it’s their pride and reputation on the line too and try to work together.

Save copies at different stages

Keeping track of edits and versions can be difficult, so make sure you save different versions, so you don’t end up having to start from scratch should the worst happen!

Don’t forget to celebrate

While the editing process can be tricky, once you have finalized your manuscript don’t forget to take a step back and enjoy the moment. Finishing a book is no mean feat and however tough the journey was, you got there in the end - and that’s something well worth celebrating!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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