Writing to an editor is intimidating. Editors are these daunting, mysterious figures who work in the shadows, wielding the red pens of judgment, and witnessing the godlike works of Really Good Writers ™ almost daily. They can also say some really hard things to swallow! But your relationship with your editor is one of the most important relationships you will have—right after your relationship with your cat and right before your relationship with chocolate. And it’s in your power to make that relationship a delight and a joy—or a soul-sucking trial of infinite madness. (Guess which one is better for your book?)
Luckily, it’s not that hard to start things off on the right foot. Just being aware of how your words and your pen-side manner impact your professional image is a fantastic baseline. But for those of you who want to go further than that, those of you who want to be one of those authors editors dream about working with, I’ve collected a few of the cardinal dos and don’ts to help you on your way.
DO Be Nice
It makes such a difference. The author who is nice? I can’t wait to open emails from them. I smile when I see their name on caller id. I respond to them faster. And I fantasize about working with them again. Not to mention, if an author misses a deadline, or is having some trouble in some other area, it makes me want to work extra hard to help them overcome their obstacles.