Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Writer's Wednesday - Five Tips for Working with an Editor

Pink Heart Society columnist Jenna Kernan is sharing her top tips for working with those all important editors... 

"Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself. "                                                                                           ~Eleanor Roosevelt~
I'm lucky to have worked with one editor for a good long time.  But over my tenure writing for Harlequin, I have also worked with several other editors who headed various series lines and four editorial assistants, which brings me to my first piece of advice.
1. Be Nice:  
Not only because it is the right thing to do but because it is wise.  Remember the four editorial assistants I have worked with?  Well, they are now editors and agents and some are heads of series.  Now isn't nice to have such important people answer your phone calls and meet you for coffee because you treated them as you should have, like human beings? 
2. Take Advice:
When I get a lengthy revision letter I allow myself 24 hours to sulk and shake my fists and stomp around muttering about how stupid people are.  Then I re-read the letter and consider the possibility that my editor is right and has done me the invaluable service of pointing out flaws in my story before it goes out there in an unforgiving world. You don't have to make every change but before you reject the suggestions of a trained professional remind yourself of how many writers out there would and do pay for such input.  Then tuck away your sensitive ego and go to work to improve your story. 
3.  Play Nice:
Editors move around and so do authors.  But editors have the memories of elephants and remember who was a pleasure to work with and who made life a living hell.  They also talk and you want the reputation that will precede you to open doors, not have them slamming in your face. 
Annual Harlequin Party at RWA nationals is a time to celebrate for authors & editors.
Author Jenna Kernan in white, bottom, left.
4. Try It:
If your editor asks you to take on a special project or take part in a special event--try it!  There is nothing wrong with being a 'go to' author so that when opportunities arise your name is on the short list.  These offers can include things like being a guest speaker, taking part in Book Expo America, being a signing author at a conference or being included in an anthology.  These experiences are an honor and will help you grow.  So stretch out of your comfort zone because that's where the good stuff is waiting.
5. Meet your Deadlines:
If you promised a proposal or manuscript by a certain date you have a responsibility to meet that obligation.  Sure you can ask for an extension and should do so if there is a serious life-event.  But in all other cases, as fashion mentor Tim Gunn says, "Make it work!" Your publishing house has you slotted, covers designed, advertising in place.  Of course they can rearrange things if they have to.  But they don't like it because to do so is more work and these editors already have way more work than they need. So do what you promised and get that book in on time.
What are your top tips with working with editors?  Share your advice in the comments! 

Jenna's twenty-fifth book, Hunter Moon is the second book in her popular Apache Protector series for Harlequin Intrigue, and is out now:

Clay Cosen wants nothing more than to put his dark past behind him, but his work impounding free-roaming cattle is creating new enemies. Rancher Isabel Nosie has her own reasons to mistrust him. She loved him once, and she's never forgiven him for her fiancé's death—a death she thinks Clay could have prevented. When someone starts killing her cattle, though, she has no choice but to turn to the best tracker on the reservation. 

Soon, Izzie herself is in danger, and Clay's attempts to protect her and clear her name make him a target—and a suspect. Clay risks losing everything: the respect of his family and his tribe, and the woman he's never stopped loving.

For more details about Jenna Kernan's stories, visit her EXTRAS page, subscribe to her newsletter on her website, visit her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.

Jenna is also forming a new review team.  If you are interested in getting free pre-release copies of Jenna's lastest visit her website to apply.


  1. Great advice.
    And... I see my red hair on the dance floor !

    1. Are you on the right side? Not too far from Nora?

    2. I see you, Angie! Looks like someone is giving you an uppercut.

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    2. Thanks, Lena. Isn't it funny that we navigate that photo by Nora's position? She is the North Star.