One Author's Life: A Personal Blog

How to Talk to Your Editor

December 5, 2013

I heard something terrible recently: A top editor admitted to me that he isn't signing up debut authors because they take up too much of his time. Now, before you hate this guy's guts, consider that his job responsibilities have multiplied in the last few years at the same time that thousands of new people want his attention. He can't go to the men's room without someone handing him a manuscript or pitching an idea. During the last twenty years I have been published by Random House, Doubleday, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster, among others, and all of my editors have been hard-working and thoughtful people who truly love books. They don't have as much time as they used to, however, and publishing is a complex (weird, actually) business. If you are a fledgling author and you think the squeaky wheel gets the oil, it's not true. No matter how high up you climb, editors love authors who are polite, professional, and do not bug them to death, especially if all you want to do is vent or worry. (That is why God gave you friends.) If you have a question and you think you can get the information from your agent or a professional organization, try them first. Two organizations that I belong to are Authors Guild and ASJA (American Society of Journalists & Authors). Even if you don't join, or aren't qualified yet to join, study the public portion of their websites. Last but not least, be wary of all the negative talk about publishing; there are people eager to make money off your fears and dreams.


  1. December 5, 2013 4:31 PM EST
    Amy: you nailed this one. I sent the link to my editor and thanked her for being so kind to me when I was a debut author. ;)
    - Ann Hite
  2. December 5, 2013 8:18 PM EST
    Thank you, Ann. There's so much being said and written about publishing and a lot of it seems to me to be skewed in some way. I try to write blog posts that provide inside information that may be useful or helpful.
    - Amy Hill Hearth
  3. February 13, 2014 6:58 PM EST
    Amy, This post made me realize how lucky I am to be working with Pixel Hall Press, the publisher who is bringing out my fiction collection (in print and e-format!), and who has already published two of my short stories in e-book format.
    They have made this a truly collaborative experience, and have made me feel like a valued part of the team instead of just the "author."
    You're also right about getting as much information you can from other sources. This is a business, and authors need to become as educated as possible about all the facets.
    Thanks for a great post!
    - Nancy Christie
  4. February 15, 2014 3:21 PM EST
    Thank you, Nancy! How nice to hear that you're thrilled with your publisher. Makes all the difference. I have a wonderful relationship with my current publisher, Atria Books imprint of Simon & Schuster. I do feel as if I am part of the team there, so I know exactly how you feel.
    - Amy Hill Hearth