Sunday, January 20, 2008

New Editor

On Friday, I found out I was getting a new editor.

As an author, getting a new editor can at first be like losing your boyfriend or spouse. You’ve grown accustomed to having that person in your life. You don’t want them to go. You have rapport and friendship. You’ve been through many books with them. You’ve leaned on them, and they’ve pushed you to make your writing better. You know what to expect.

The first time I got a new editor was immediately after I’d sold. Melissa Jeglinski bought my first book way back in Sept. 1999, and soon after I was shifted to Patience Smith since Melissa already had a full list of authors. I loved having Patience as my editor. She and I did many a book together, and while with her I got to work with a few other editors as well, for at times someone else in New York would guest edit a particular book. I remember the day Patience called me to tell me the line was moving to Toronto and that she would no longer my editor. I wanted to cry. I might have once I hung up the phone.

Then my new editor called me and introduced herself and we started working together. At first the transition was rough, but everyone kept telling me how lucky I was to have her. I’ll admit, it took a few books for me to know what her other authors were talking about. My new editor pushed me in new directions and made me work harder than ever before. She was demanding and relentless. Still, she worked tirelessly with me to sharpen my prose, and suddenly I was no longer a one or two book per year author, but a three-four book per year author. I’d reached a new level, and all because of her tutelage and refusal to let me settle. Then one day she called and said she was moving to a new line and I was getting a new editor. I wanted to cry again.

My new editor and I did three books together before she ended up being downsized in a Harlequin restructure. I went back to my former editor—hooray!—who I was with until the call came on Friday that she had left the company.

This time I took the news in stride, but still, I was depressed. I’ll miss her and I’m always nervous because now my new editor and I have to get accustomed to each other. It’s like getting a new English teacher. Each one teaches the same language skills, but all have slightly different techniques.

I’ll officially meet my new editor via a phone call next week, although we’ve chatted before. She’s reading a few of my books now to learn my voice. She’ll start by editing the book I just turned in, and on Monday she’ll have the proposals my agent just sent. Thus, we’re going to jump right in.

When it comes down to it, I’m sad to have lost my editor, because she taught me much more than I ever thanked her for. At the same time, I’m very excited and looking forward to working with my new editor. Each editor has pushed me in a new direction, and ensured my continued growth as a writer. I have no doubt my new editor is going to do the same, and I can’t wait.

5 comments:

Ann Roth said...

Michele-
Having been through a few editors myself, I sympathize. But you're right, this will probably be a wonderful opportunity to grow.

Estella said...

It is always difficult to get to know new people, but bdfore long you will be sailing along with your new editor.

Michele Dunaway said...

Thanks Estella, I agree!

As Ann pointed out, authors do change editors for one reason or another. But it is akin to losing a friend and gaining another. Wonderful yet bittersweet.

BethRe said...

I think its the change part that we all struggle with, here is hoping that your new editor will help you become the best that you can be

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ah, change is scary but it can be very good. I'm excited for you!