5 Tips on Revising with Editors

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Hurrah! You’ve got a contract for that novel or picturebook, and now, you receive a revision letter.

What? A revision letter after the contract? Yes. While the stoy is great and the editor loves it, there are probably minor things to take care of at this point.

Revising with an Editor

  • Relax and enjoy the process. Revising with an editor is way more fun than revising on spec. You are assured that the editor loves your story; after all, they’ve paid up front for this privelege of revising with you. Work with confidence that these are only minor problems, and will be easily worked out.
  • Address every concern. Editors don’t have time to ask you to do the same thing three times. Get out a red pen and check off every concern as you address it. When you think you’ve finished, go back and check everything once more.
  • Communicate. Not sure you understand an editor’s concern? Talk to your editor. You have a working relationship now and it’s OK to call or email–as long as you don’t over do it. Ask questions, explore ramifications of his/her suggestions, gossip about your characters–talk to your editor about any and all concerns you have. Can you disagree? Yes. What you can’t do is ignore a concern. Talk!
  • Go to the Heart of the editor’s comments. Just as when you revise on spec, you should look beyond a specific suggestion to the heart of what they are suggesting.
  • Meet deadlines. Be a pro and meet every deadline you’re given; or, at least let the editor know when difficulties arise. If you have a sudden family illness, the story takes a surprising turn, or your computer crashes, editors are understanding and deadlines can be fudged a bit. But you must let the editor know what is going on. Otherwise, meet your deadline–every time.

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