Inside MAI Blog: Thoughts on global publishing

How to pray for an editor

By Julie Ackerman Link, guest blogger
 
Working with an author for the first time is like going on a first date. You don't know what to expect, and you don't know what's expected of you. You want it to go well, but you worry that it won't. The anticipation of starting a new relationship is mixed with dread that it will turn out badly.
 
Though similar, dating and editing are not exactly synonymous. When I am having dinner with someone, it is not my responsibility to correct his manners. But the role of the editor is to correct the author's writing. And this 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.


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.
 

Try praying for an editor using Philippians 2:1-11: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (v. 3).”

When editors and authors both see the other as more important than themselves, the relationship will be satisfying and edifying not only for the author and editor but also for readers.

 

Julie Ackerman Link is a co-founder of Blue Water Ink, a book-packaging company that has been providing writing, editing, designing, typesetting and consulting services for publishers and authors for more than 25 years. During her career, Julie has rewritten, edited and compiled hundreds of books.

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