How to work with an editor

Editors change text for all kinds of reasons, but malice is rarely one of them. Holding a dialogue is a great way to understand your editor’s thinking—and perhaps improve your writing.

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You’ve retained an editor’s services and have received the edited version of your manuscript or article, or you are reviewing the work of a staff or freelance editor working for a publication you have submitted your content to.

If you haven’t worked with an editor before, you may be disconcerted by the amount of editing that has been done. But whether you’re a novice or a veteran, these guidelines will help you have a productive relationship with the editor.

1. Respect objectivity

An editor experiences your work dispassionately. Whether he or she simply engages with a decent manuscript or exults in the opportunity to help craft a classic, the editor is not emotionally involved. Take advantage of this fortunate fact by carefully considering any changes, comments, or suggestions the editor makes about your work

Is a character in a novel too good or too evil, or inconsistent in behavior or inadequately portrayed? Is your how-to book poorly organized or too sparse or too dense? Have you inserted yourself too obtrusively into an essay? An editor will let you know. Trust his or her outside perspective. An editor is the reader’s representative, and as he or she reacts to the content, so, likely, will your intended readership.

2. Cool off

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