By Writing Excuses | February 28, 2010 - 7:17 pm - Posted in Career, Editing, Guest

Jessica Day George, author of The Dragon Slippers and a host of other things, joins us to talk about working with editors, and she’s got stories to tell. But so do Dan and Brandon. And hey, surprise! Even self-published Howard has an appropriate anecdote here!

What should you expect when you work with an editor? Are they going to ask you to add sex and violence, or are they going to demand that you tone everything down? Are they going to buy your book and then force unconscionable changes down your throat, or are they going to warn you before the contract is signed?

The answer is, not surprisingly, yes. Editors may do all this and more. Or less. More or less. Have a listen…

Audiobook Pick-of-the-Week: Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, by Jessica Day George

Writing Prompt: An author and an editor are disagreeing on a matter that nobody else would ever think to disagree on.

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15 Comments

  1. February 28, 2010 @ 7:51 pm


    For Howard: Bonus stories will sell books to me. The only web comic books I will even consider buying are ones with bonus material. I like supporting my web comic artists, but I have a limited budget, so if I have to decided between buying a web comic book with bonus content and one without, I will always choose the one with bonus content.

    Posted by Mike - New Hampshire
  2. February 28, 2010 @ 10:42 pm


    Hey, am I first? Woo!

    Okay, troll moment over now.

    Anyway. Thanks for the podcast, guys.

    By the way, this link from Editorial Anonymous is probably apropos:

    http://editorialanonymous.blogspot.com/2008/10/just-saying-no-to-your-editor.html

    Posted by Raethe
  3. March 1, 2010 @ 5:16 am


    Very interesting podcast. What I would have loved to hear a bit more is from Howard, how he, as self publisher works with this. I have published a couple of books in very small niche markets and each time the editor has helped me become a better author, but now on an experiment in writing I’m running, I have nobody to actually go and give me the kind of feedback an editor would give you.

    To make matters worse, Howard faces the same problems as I do in my experiment now, writing in sequence so there is something new once in a while, or as for Howard every single day. It would be interesting how he battles those problems and what his replacement for a standard ‘traditional’ editor is, if there is one.

    Posted by Christian Riesen
  4. March 1, 2010 @ 10:51 am


    This podcast reminded me of the beginning of that movie “The Majestic”. In the first scene, Jim Carrey is a Hollywood writer who’s listening to the producers talk about his script, and the producers decide to change the main character into a dog, and the look on Jim Carrey’s face just says it all.

    Seriously, though, I bet most of the people listening would kill just to have an editor to disagree with.

    Posted by AlanHorne
  5. March 1, 2010 @ 12:16 pm


    Off topic, but I wanted to wish Howard a happy birthday in some quantum space between yesterday and today. (The birthday was in the quantum space, not the wish.)

    Posted by Katya
  6. March 1, 2010 @ 12:51 pm


    I’m going to have to stop listening to these while I’m eating lunch. Jeez, how many times in one minute can you guys say “urine and vomit?!” :^/

    Can’t say I’d kill to have an editor to disagree with, but I would definitely set a penguin on fire.

    Posted by Mostly
  7. March 1, 2010 @ 4:29 pm


    Howard you lie!
    You do too have an editor, her name is Sandra and from what I’ve heard she is a cruel taskmistress.
    DON’T ANGER THE SANDRA!!!!

    And happy birthday you sushi fiend you.

    Posted by WEKM
  8. March 1, 2010 @ 10:09 pm


    Jessica–

    Yeah… I’m reading the Dragon books to my sons. Ages 8, 6, and 4. They love them! :) Is that so wrong?

    Also, I’d probably be just fine reading a book with a poker game in it to them. It’s not strip poker, is it? :)

    Posted by Robin
  9. March 2, 2010 @ 9:21 am


    I am hooked! Just discovered you, will not leave you. Thanks for the education.

  10. March 2, 2010 @ 12:57 pm


    This podcast had me giggling.

    My almost-editor difficulty: the professor editing my thesis is afraid to confront me on changes he wants, so he won’t discuss them. Sigh. I suppose that won’t be a problem if I ever have a real editor.

    Posted by Figment
  11. March 2, 2010 @ 5:44 pm


    transcript for the wordy…

    http://mbarker.livejournal.com/134428.html

    Posted by Mike Barker
  12. March 2, 2010 @ 10:28 pm


    @NH Mike: Good to know. Thanks for weighing in. Of course, that piece of anecdotal evidence doesn’t prove to me that the opportunity cost of the bonus story pays for itself. Without bonus stories I could put books out faster. I might sell fewer of each, but more altogether. Still, I’m not planning on dropping the bonus content. I’m creating the books I would want to buy.

    @Christian: Outside what I shared in the ‘cast, my own experience wasn’t relevant to the topic as we defined it. Sure, we can talk about how I get by without a traditional editor/author relationship, but that would fill 15 minutes all by itself.

    @Katya: Thank you!

    @WEKM: It’s not really the same. She’s more of an alpha reader. Or a co-author. Though she is the one issuing me my paychecks.

    Posted by Howard Tayler
  13. March 4, 2010 @ 6:31 pm


    Again, I will restate it,
    DON’T ANGER THE SANDRA!!!!

    Posted by WEKM
  14. March 6, 2010 @ 4:28 pm


    [...] Excuses posted their weekly podcast, this time on Working with Editors.  I love listening to this on Mondays, it gives me something to look forward to on [...]

  15. March 7, 2010 @ 2:15 pm


    I’m kind of surprised how much Jessica discloses here about her author-editor relationship. Is it usually a bad idea to be so open about an ongoing professional disagreement? I was under the impression that it was.

    Even with the somewhat awkward disclosure, however, great podcast. When I get that phone call from an agent/editor, I’m going to ask them what their vision of the work is before I freak out, sign a contract, and take all my friends out to dinner. Thanks.

    Posted by onelowerlight