On occasion I’ve found that writers worry over whether an editor will fundamentally reimagine their book. Sometimes this happens—and I think it should be made painfully, abundantly clear at the outset that this is the editor’s goal—but more often I see my job as something like being a tourist. You’ve created a world and plopped me into it. Let me tell you what I see. If there are aspects of the book that I miss during my walkabout, then I’ve already pointed out something isn’t landing the way you hoped it might. How do we reshape our path so that a reader doesn’t miss it?
But I’m not here to entirely reconceive the world you’ve built. If I wanted to do that, I’d be a writer. I’m here to ask the right questions and poke the right holes, to lead you to the story you want to tell. That perfect chemistry tends to exist when author and editor both share a vision for what the book is—and can be. So I’d recommend authors listen closely to an editor’s interpretation of their work, and consider if that feedback aligns with what you set out to do. If that vision isn’t shared, that editor may simply be the wrong fit.
—Zack Knoll, editor, Abrams
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