The Delicate Author Dance

It has been far too long since I posted. Unfortunately, the doing of my job has been getting in the way of the writing about my job. And also, nothing in a month has popped into my head that has made me think, I should blog about that!

So I guess this post might suck. But let’s soldier on and see where it takes us anyway, huh?

I have some tough authors on my plate right now.

One is frustrated with me because I asked her to cut a lot of her book. Unfortunately, her book isn’t very good, but she doesn’t realize that. She thinks (as many do) that God wrote the book for her and that it is therefore blameless.

Another is upset with me because she’s written a sordid, in-poor-taste sex scene that very blatantly goes against our company’s standards of publishing, and I’ve asked her to take it out. She argues that I’m stifling her creativity as a writer. I wish I could tell her that it’s not an issue of creativity; it’s truly an issue of taste. I’ve often posited that I’m one of the most liberal (if not the most liberal) editors at the company in terms of the kinds of things I let slide in my books for the sake of good literature. So if I find this scene to be in poor taste, that’s saying quite a lot. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to say that to her, at least not in those exact words.

Still another is irritated because I rewrote her teaser and author bio, and they don’t sound like her voice. I did my best to explain the concept that the backmatter should be more a product of the publisher’s voice than the author’s, in order to be the most marketable for the book. Of course, that was editor code for “your teaser was really, really terrible.” She didn’t get it. She’s very old. And then she gave me a lecture about how Santa should not be an icon in the Christian home. I didn’t have the heart to tell her she’s fighting a useless battle with that one.

On a more positive note, I’ve got one author singing my praises because she is a terrible writer (she’ll admit it herself), but the work I did on her book disguises that fact pretty well. Another author has informed my boss that he will not publish with our company again unless he can work with me again. And one final author has informed my boss that I need a raise, and he called me a couple of weeks ago just because he “missed” me (he had been out of editing for about a month, and once they’re out of editing, they don’t hear from the editor [obviously]).

So, as with any job, there are ups and there are downs. One just has to hope that the ups can outweigh the downs somehow or at least be somewhat balanced.

So far, this is probably the post I’m least proud of. I hope something interesting and worth blogging about happens soon.

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