Secrets of the Industry: Do You Speak Editor?

What your editor is really saying . . .

When you get your edits back:

“Your manuscript has a lot of potential.” = You’ve got a lot of revision ahead of you.

“You use so much description!” = Your adjectives are too many and your diction too pretentious.

“I think this could be a great tool for [insert insanely specific market here].” = Nobody but your family and the five people interested in fountain-coin-collecting is going to buy your book.

“I think there is definitely a specific niche market for your book.” = If your marketing rep can find that niche market, she/he will deserve a huge raise!

“Don’t be alarmed by the amount of text I’m suggesting you remove. It’ll help bring focus to the story.” = Your book is too damn long, and nobody will read past the first 30 pages.

When you encounter a problem/issue:

Dear Editor, Why was the foreword/preface/introduction/afterword left out of my book?
“My apologies; it must have gotten overlooked somewhere along the way.” = You never sent it to me, you dimwit.

Dear Editor, Why does the endorsement read differently than the one I actually sent in?
“I reduced the word count on your endorsement because it wouldn’t fit on the back cover otherwise.” = Your endorser has written stupid things, and I’m making him/her look smarter than he/she really is.

Dear Editor, Why is my book so expensive?
“The higher the word count, the more expensive the price.” = Printing is expensive. You rambled on for two hundred pages and didn’t cut what I asked you to cut.

Dear Editor, Why is there a different teaser on my cover than the one I sent in?
“Authors often have trouble trying to write their own teasers because they’re too close to the material. I merely took what you wrote and refined it for maximum marketability.” = Your teaser sucked.

***Another great line straight out of a real-live, contracted book (a line that may or may not have been revised in editing):
“Adolph knew their relationship was coming to a showdown.”

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