Invisible Handwriting: What editors need

By Julie Ackerman Link

The role of an editor is to correct an author’s writing, which introduces the potential for conflict. Editors must convey to authors that the manuscript they worked so hard to write still has areas of imperfection. They must then show authors how to fix the flaws. Some authors are eager to receive help; others are not.

So when you are prompted to pray for editors, here are five things that editors need every day:2-editors-discussing-manusc 3

Wisdom. No two authors are alike, so editors need wisdom to know the best way to work with different personality types. Being a good editor requires more than editorial skills and language expertise; it requires an understanding of people. Pray that editors will have the wisdom necessary to convince authors that the changes they suggest are made with their best interest in mind.

Discernment. Not every editorial change is worth fighting for. Pray that editors will know when to insist on an editorial change, when to negotiate, and when to go with the author’s preference.

Humility. Editors work behind the scenes. Readers never know how much work editors do to make authors look good. In fact, editors seldom get credit for all the improvements they make, but they likely will be blamed if they allow a mistake to slip through. Editors need grace and humility to accept this reality and remain free of resentment.

Patience. Knowing what’s right can lead to impatience if the editor has trouble convincing the author. Pray that editors will be patient with authors and not lose sight of the fact that their task is to create good, God-honoring books for readers, not win arguments with authors.

Respect. Most editors are trained professionals, yet in some settings they are treated disrespectfully because their experience and degrees are considered less prestigious. Pray that editors will be treated with the respect they deserve.

Behind every good book is an invisible editor who works without recognition but who needs your prayer and encouragement.

Julie Ackerman Link is a co-founder of Blue Water Ink, a book-packaging company that provides writing, editing, designing, typesetting and consulting services for publishers and authors.  Julie also serves on the Board of Directors for MAI.

Photo above courtesy of Michael Collie, SPCKA

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