Sometimes working with an editor can be hard, this is a person you’ve hired to keep you in check, and that can sometimes result in disagreements. Keep in mind that your editor is a kind of stand-in for your eventual audience, and if they are critical of your work, it is probably not without good reason. It’s hard not to feel protective over your work, whether it is a novel or a dissertation, etc, but in order for it to be as good as it can be, you will have to learn to trust the person you are working with.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should always roll over every time your editor tells you to do something you’re not sure about. This is your project and must ultimately be something you are proud to put your name to. It’s important to find a good balance. A good editor is fundamental to the success of your project, and you’ll need to make sure you can work well with yours.
Pick your battles. An editor will be thinking with a business mind and sometimes this will clash with your ideas of the project. Take a good look at the issue and decide whether it’s worth fighting for. Try to think of it from your editor’s perspective and if you still feel like it’s too important to the project to be changed, stick to your guns.
If you are a self-publisher, an editor should not only be able to help you polish your work so that it will sell better, but they should also have trade knowledge that will be invaluable to you. Self-publishers have the added difficulty of having to control the marketing of their work, and an editor should have the experience to assist in this, and to help you understand the market.
Sometimes, though, you might just not click with the editor you’ve hired. Perhaps their vision of the project is just too different from yours, or perhaps they are too focused on the business side of things and not enough on the creative elements, or perhaps you simply don’t get along. Don’t be afraid to get a new editor if you feel you cannot work with the one you’ve got. An editor is too important to your work to let these differences impede you. It is, after all, your project, and you should be able to feel good about it.
Robin Field holds a BA in English and Linguistics from the University of Cape Town where she is currently working toward her Master’s degree in Linguistics with a focus on gender and game studies.