…or would like to. Blaming the editor is common.
Editing is my dream job; there is nothing I would rather do. That’s the good news.
The bad news is having to deliver bad news. Or ‘much room for improvement’ messages.
The ‘Don’t call us, we’ll call you’ messages are easier by comparison. The manuscript is not ready for a professional edit. End of story. An editor doesn’t invest time in the project.
Can this novel be saved?
The good ones, the ones with the bones of a good story but with a number of holes or inconsistencies, insufficient or improbable character development, ah, those are painful. The pain is evenly distributed between editor and author, although the author doesn’t understand that. The news that is excruciating to deliver is unbearable to receive.
We don’t want the author to throw the work out or give up on it.
The very fact that the manuscript is accepted and the edit is done is clear evidence that it is not a lost cause. It may need a major renovation but it can be turned into a solid structure which will stand the test of time and get good reviews.
Bad reviews can be the kiss of death, not just for a particular book, but for every book the author has on the market. Bad reviews can stop new readers from giving the author a chance, even if the other books on offer are top-notch.
Reviews are not the only form of negative press that should concern a writer. With social media and the conversations that take place there, thousands more people than the few who may read a review will see a slam against a book or writer.
Editors get paid for the service they provide whether or not a book does well, so we don’t point these weaknesses out to line our own pockets. But consider what it is we are getting paid to do. We want authors to make money, too. You hire us as experts, for our knowledge and experience in getting manuscripts market-ready.
While personal preferences affect the genres an editor may accept, the comments made on accepted manuscripts are not personal opinions. They are things which will damage your credibility as an author. Be careful about deciding to publish things that are not working based only on the opinions gathered from friends or inexperienced beta readers.
Editors are not executioners. We want you to succeed. To thrive. We are on the same team and you have a lot at stake.