How to Work with an Editor

Whether you write books, articles, poetry or corporate communication pieces, if someone else publishes your work, then you’ll likely have to work with an editor.

Most publications and publishing houses have editors who assign and/or vet content to ensure it meets the organization’s editorial mandate and jives with the needs of its readers.

But for new writers, bloggers or citizen journalists, working with an editor might be a new experience. Here are some tips for ensuring the collaboration goes smoothly.

  1. The editor is your friend. Sure, they might ask you to revise your work, or in extreme scenarios, to re-write it entirely, but they’re doing this to help, not to hinder you as a writer.
  2. Editors know their audience. They have a deeper understanding of their readers than most freelance writers do, and can offer insight into what information, approach and tone their readers will most appreciate.
  3. Editors nurture writing talent. Good editors will recognize a talented writer and work with them to offer suggestions to improve their work.
  4. Editors generally prefer that writers make revisions to their own work, rather than them having to make revisions themselves. This is because, in most cases, editors prefer to preserve the writer’s voice and intent where possible.
  5. If an editor asks for revisions, make them! Don’t argue why your original is perfect the way it is. Make the changes requested. There’s a good reason they were requested, after all.

Developing a good working relationship with an editor can lead to ongoing writing assignments and greater responsibility. But keep in mind that editors are the gatekeepers to their audiences, and as much as you would love to preserve your golden words, it’s in your best interest as a writer to work in collaboration with your editor to ensure your work meets their needs.

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