As an editor, have you ever wondered how to encourage your authors? How to inspire them to produce their best work? MAI President John Maust collected tips from top editors around the world explaining their methods to build strong editor-author relationships. Part 3 of 3.
Challenge the author to pursue excellence
- “[Harold Wallace Ross] saw his job as encouraging people more talented than he to do their work better than they had hitherto known how to do it, largely by being harder on themselves than they had been accustomed to be. Simple enough, but how rare! The principle that one must be harder on oneself than one knows how to be is, I believe, the only secret means that The New Yorker possesses for the achievement of excellence.” Brendan Gill, Here at the New Yorker (New York: Random House, 1975), 288.
Admit your mistakes
- “When things go wrong, as they always do, explain clearly, apologize promptly, and put it right. Don’t make tedious excuses or cover your backside. It will not win you respect: honesty, however, always does, and it also engenders trust.” Tony Collins, Monarch Publishing
Find ways to help your author grow
- “Our Step Writers Workshops are really the meetings of writers over a theme and some practical exercises. We’ve done this year after year for many years. Some 80% of those who come are regular participants, thus forming a group. For committed writers who see writing as their God-given talent, it’s of tremendous help to know the group exists to encourage them in their writing and to foster relationships.” Lawrence Darmani, Step Publishing, Ghana
- “We collect information on books that may be of interest to our different authors. I will even buy the suitable ones for them at the overseas book fairs as a kind of reference. They usually find this helpful and show great appreciation for that.” Muriel Ma, former editor at Breakthrough, Hong Kong
- “We promote gatherings of writers. We also encourage our authors to read, and particularly those authors (Christian or no) who are writing in the same subject area as they are. We also encourage them to adopt a regular writing routine that includes short articles, such as blogs.” Renato Fleischner, editorial director, Editora Mundo Cristão, Brazil
Encourage and inspire
- “I’ve tried to mentor writers: a word of encouragement, hearing them voice their frustrations, and giving them the assurance that a writer-friend is easily reachable and approachable. This helps them to persevere. Now we have a “Writer’s Room” in our office with computers and quietness for any of our writer friends who want to come and hide and write.” Lawrence Darmani, Step, Ghana
How do you help inspire other writers?