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How to maintain a good relationship with your editor

If you develop a good business and personal relationship with your editor, you can get a better feel for how they can provide you with support, said Marilyn “Winkie” Fordney, the author of insurance billing and medical assisting books.

“Find out where the person came from and whether they have been in business for a long time,” she said. “Find out about their personal life. Do they have children? If they do, you’ll know that if sometimes they are unavailable, it might be because their children are sick. When you visit with them, bring toys for their kids. This shows that you remembered about their children.”

Other ways to a build a relationship with your editor, said Fordney:

  • Compliment them when they’ve done something that was helpful to you. “They probably don’t get complimented very often,” she said. “If you compliment them, they will be more willing to help you again.”
  • Give them gifts for their birthday and Christmas. “Don’t give them something of too little or too much value,” she said. “Find out what they like or bring them a gift that is unique to your community.”
  • Invest in the stock of the company that is publishing your book. “That way, you get inside information on how the company is doing.” she said.
  • Document communications with your editor. If disagreements over what was discussed come up, you have documentation to back you up, she said.
  • If you complain, then give them a suggestion or a solution.
  • Share materials relevant to your book with your editor. “When I come across newspaper articles about a new technology I want to use in my book, I send a copy of them to my editor,” she said.
  • Visit and take photos at your publisher’s book display. “I e-mail the pictures to them as attachments,” she said. “My editors often place them on the bulletin board outside their office.”
  • Tell your editor about any ideas you have about new editions.
  • Ask your editor to acknowledge receipt of phone calls and e-mails.
  • Copy the vital members of your production team on any emails to your editor to keep them all in the loop.

If you ever get angry at your editor and feel like retorting back, let some time pass before you do, said Fordney. “Write e-mail messages and then don’t send them,” she said. “Once you’ve cooled off, rewrite them in a more positive light.”

When she gets upset, she said, she thinks of the end goal: “The goal is to get the book out. Remain professional and maintain the attitude that you are going to get there and get there in a positive way.