Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How To Be A Likeable Writer

I’ve been writing for longer than I care to remember and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s be a writer editors like. The publishing world might seem like a huge community, but it’s not. It’s tighter knit than you’d think. Word travels fast from one editor to another. So what qualities have I discovered can turn you into the editor’s darling? Here are my top five picks-

Be Dependable
Whether it’s freelance writing or books, publishing runs on tight deadlines. Miss one and you cost the editor sleepless nights and not to mention the publication money. Stick with deadlines no matter what. And I’d go so far to say that turn work in ahead of that deadline. If there’s a problem and the editor wants you to change something, you’ve got that extra time before the deadline’s staring you in the face.

Keep The Editor Up to Date
This quality goes hand in hand with the previous one. If you can’t meet your deadline, let the editor know ahead of time. Don’t wait for him or her to call asking where the manuscript is. If you’re having a problem with something or know you can’t get edits turned in on time, tell them and tell them early in the editing process. And ask questions if you’re not sure exactly what the editor wants. I’ve found if you have a problem and ask their advice you oftentimes get Brownie points for considering them as an expert who’s there to help.

Don’t Be A Prima Donna
This is a competitive business and word soon gets around who’s a problematic writer. Don’t let your bad reputation get in the way of making a sale to an editor who’s heard horror story about your temper tantrums.

Meet Them Half Way
There are going to be times when the editor and you don’t see eye to eye on something you’ve written. Look at it from their point of viewpoint before you talk to them. While you shouldn’t stay quiet about something you think the editor is being unreasonable about don’t argue just because you think you’re the writer, it’s your baby and that means you know best.

Be a Team Player
Think of your editor as you’re buddy. Their name’s going on your work too. They want to be as proud of the story or book as you are. Think of you both working together to make it the best project ever.

In a competitive business like writing, it’s not always the best writers who continually get published or have bylines in every magazine. It’s the ones who are reliable, always meet deadlines and get the reputation of being an easy person to work with.

Susan Palmquist is both a freelance writer and author. Her latest book, Sleeping With Fairies is published with Lyrical Press and a recent nominee for best book of the week at LASR. To find out more about Susan and her work visit


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