Friday, November 20, 2009

Losing Your Editor

GalleyCat had a good post by Jeff Rivera on what can happen to you and your book if you lose your editor at the publishing house. When that happens, you lose the editor who was pushing and rooting for your book; your book is “orphaned.” A lot of times, your book tanks because there’s no one there to root for it. If you don’t have a good established track record with the house, you may not be signed again.

Some agents weigh in with guidance for authors who find themselves in this kind of situation.
Ted Weinstein of Ted Weinstein Literary Management advises writers to, "continue to build his or her platform and write (or get written about) in lots more media outlets, so their agent will be able to say to acquisition editors with a straight face that the author is now at a new, higher stage of their writing career."
For what other agents and managers said, click over to the full article. If you got dropped by your publisher, how hard would it be to pick yourself up and move on? Would you figure it was just fate? What would you do?
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  1. I'm sure it's quite a blow! But people move around a lot in this industry and I'm sure this situation occurs more often than people realize.

  2. Oh my goodness. I have a very good friend that this happened to at a really BIG publisher. She ended up with the newbie editor after hers left. The editor didn't know about so many things. Very frustrating! I'm tweeting this.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  3. This is good stuff to be aware of. I'm going to read that article. Thanks, Helen.

    Marvin D Wilson

  4. I think this would be a major disappointment, but after sulking for a while, I think I'd get over it and start over again. I plan to read the whole article - just in case.

  5. I have never had this experience... and hope not to (at least for a good long while). It takes time to build (and rebuild) a relationship. I have faith in my editor - he knows me, my writing, my plans, and all of that. Starting from scratch would be daunting...

    Thanks, Jill

  6. After the long, involved journey to publication, a situation like this must come as a major letdown. Your post really hit home how necessary it is to be strong and determined in this line of work, and flexible too. Finding ways around changes like the one mentioned here.

  7. First of all, I'd be happy to be faced with the problem in the first place because it would mean my book had made it to a publisher. Then I'd sulk a bit and move on!

  8. One thing I took from this article is that you must build up your platform, so that your value is one you've built, and not dependent on your editor.

  9. Read the article and goodness, it's a tougher trek these days.

    So the advice is: 1. your former editor should be proactive and get replacement on board with inherited projects.

    2. Author must continue building platforms and buzz

    3. Maybe a pseudonym, controversial in some cases, is the way to go

    As someone mentioned above, a writer needs to be determined AND flexible

    And creative.

    Thanks for this post, Helen

  10. I think things work a bit differently down here. Editors come and go at publishing houses, many are not on staff but hired for a particular book. I mostly deal with publishers. The publisher for my first book left and it actually tunred out great for me. The new English publisher at the publishing house is wonderful - I love her and she , at least, likes me (maybe loves but I don't want to push it).

    As for new publishers, well again I think things are different. I work with many different publishers- two in Botswana, four in South Africa. I take the all eggs in one basket not being a good thing perspective.

  11. This is one of those nightmare type fears. I think as a newbie, you'd fare best with an agent who's 200% on your side and has the right contacts. I also think the writer would need to double her promotional efforts.

  12. My novel, Escape, was orphaned four years ago when the publisher closed its doors, but I was able to resell it. Then, my last mystery/suspense novel, Diary of Murder, was orphaned when my editor left for another company, which offered me a contract no writer should ever sign (for the life of the coypyright). The only logical thing a writer can do is to take a deep breath and start querying other publishers, if 1) you don't like the new editor or 2) the publisher decides to drop you. Sometimes it's for the best.

  13. That is a terrible situation for an author to get into, and the advice from Ten Weinstein is right on. The best thing to do in the face of any adversity is to keep on keeping on. So often we spend so much energy lamenting the awful things that happen in the writing world, when we would be better off putting that energy into creativity.

  14. @ Lauri, things are a bit different here, not always by design. Publishers really want to feel you are monogamous (with respect to publishers). Some want a contract that specifies thou shalt not work for/negotiate with someone else for the duration. They want a unique product. Trying to keep your many contacts on the down lo here also doesn't work for precisely the reason the problem exists: Editors and administration are always playing musical chairs and some years the number of buys, sells, and mergers could make your head spin. Being pro active and schmoozing with one and all may be the best defense!

  15. We have some really savvy people here. Look out for yourself and do everything you can to build your sales and your platform. Your sales figures and your platform are yours. They don't leave with the editor.

  16. That has to be very disappointing. I'd be sad, then pick myself up and do something about the situation to make things better.

    Morgan Mandel

  17. That's terrible. It will take time to re-establish.

    Bargain with the Devil


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