It’s time to ask the editor!
I’ve compiled a list of questions and the lovely Abigail Fenton, Editorial Director at HarperCollins, HQ Digital, has answered them. Read on to find out more about the work of, and some top tips, from one of the best editors in the business!
What can/should authors expect from their editors?
Honest, constructive feedback – any suggestion an editor makes is because they genuinely think it will make the book better (which doesn’t mean that authors have to agree with or make all changes suggested!). Answers to questions – the publishing process can be intimidating and opaque, but your editor is always there to explain things or give context. And endless support – the editor is your main cheerleader in house, constantly pitching the book to colleagues and driving the strategy forwards.
I think some people will find this answer quite eye-opening, particularly if you’re new to working with a publisher. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think there’s a misconception that the publisher is your ‘boss’ and you have to do what they say or they won’t like you anymore. Actually, the process is much more collaborative. I’ve been lucky enough to work with lovely people, but relationships must be built by both parties and as tacky as it sounds, open and honest communication is key to that.
For example, Abi and I were once discussing edits for a book and I totally understood her point about where a character needed to end up emotionally but was a little unsure about how to get her there. After a bit of brainstorming and a good email chat, we came up with a way that worked for the story. Having done that first, I then had the confidence to go on and make those changes without second-guessing myself all the time.
The support aspect shouldn’t be overlooked either! It’s so good to know there’s someone you can ask silly questions of and they won’t laugh in your face for asking!
Thank you so much to Abi for taking the time to answer my questions. Her workload is CRAY-ZEE! So I’m so grateful to her for humouring me and my blog!
Abi is Editorial Director, HQ at HarperCollins and before that was Commissioning Editor at Bookouture.