#SaystheEditor I Only Love You For Your Contacts


I kid you not.

I got this e-mail. I’ll paraphrase it, but this is the essence of it.

Hi, Susan.

I am looking for an editor for my fiction novel. Not only must she or he have an excellent command of the English language, he or she must have strong contacts with literary agents. Any editor I work with must guarantee that they’ll get an agent to read my book and quite possibly represent it.

Umm… Dude. (Yes, it was a guy)

First off, I’m the wrong editor for you. I’m friendly and easy-going. You aren’t. In fact, you’re a bit of a bully, to just walk into my life and assume I’m going to be willing to share contacts, people whose relationships I guard and hold close, both personally and professionally.

Second, if I don’t tell anyone who my clients are — and I don’t, unless they talk about me first — why would I share my contacts with you, a stranger?

Third, and most important: That’s not the job of a freelance editor.

You hire a freelance editor to help create the best book possible. That’s all. The rest, the heavy lifting, the marketing, the buzz, the social media… those things have nothing to do with editing. That’s why you pay me a flat fee: I work on your book with you, I do my best to bring out your best, and then I set you free. Oh, I’ll be here for moral support, and no one will cheer louder or harder at your successes, next to you, of course. And yes, I’ll be here to help you vet small presses or agents. But YOU have to do the work.

What frightens me most about this author is that this guy is setting himself up to be taken for a ride. Some less-than-scrupulous person’s going to sweet talk him and make promises that they can’t or won’t deliver on.

Frankly, that’s the sort of carnage I’m glad I won’t be around to see.

So a reminder: If you want me to work with you, be friendly, not a bully. And have clear and realistic expectations about what I can and will do for you. Helping you craft the best book possible? Yes.

Helping you dodge the query letter and go straight to an agent’s interest? Not even close.



  1. Dana Griffin

    April 3, 2017 3:19 pm

    What? You mean when I send you Blamed, you won’t be dialing up agents and pushing it on them? What kind of an editor are you? If you look up editor in the dictionary, it says, “and idiot who promotes book for other idiots because neither knew better.” 🙂

    I look forward to working with you soon.

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