For Writers: Advice on Dealing with Editors

Freelance writers have a complicated relationship with their clients, because often, those clients are editors who wield the power to revise, revamp and retool their work. (I can see the designers among you cringing). So forging a good relationship with the editor who hired you is particularly important.

An excerpt from “The Craft and Business of Writing” addresses a common question among writers: How can I light fires under editors?

The need for such editorial ignition stems from a variety of problems: the editors (or agents) in question are slow to respond, to take notice, and even to pay. The writers who encounter procrastinating, inefficient, or uncaring editors want responses to their queries and especially payment within a reasonable time. They also want to be given the courtesy they deserve as working professionals and the ability to have control over their situations.

There are a variety of ways to solve these problems, to gain control, to light fires. … The first step in approaching problems with editors is to identify which situations warrant fire starting and which don’t. Sometimes you’re far better off ignoring a “problem” (because it isn’t one, or isn’t one worth correcting), shrugging it off, or dealing with it in a more constructive way.

Read more about working with editors. (With permission from HOW’s sister publication,