Friday 9 February 2018

Love Thine Editor by Kathryn Evans

If you dream of being a published author you probably dream of being a published author.  There will be  a particular dream that motivates and inspires you.

I’d hazard a guess it’s one of these:
  • Seeing your book in a reader’s hands.
  • Seeing your book on a library shelf
  • Getting a big fat advance
  • Celebrating at a jubilant launch party
  • Holding your published book in you hands for the first time
  • Getting your first fan letter
  • Being nominated for the Carnegie medal

Am I right? Thought so. How do I know? Because I dreamed them all before More of Me was published,  and one more. One that topped my list. One that is still the single most thrilling and rewarding of the lot.

I wanted an editor. A bonafide, professional editor who would help me craft my book into something more.

My fabulous editor Sarah Stewart and me making a stupid crying face because she made my book better than I ever could on my own.

For an author, there is no greater gift than this. Your editor will love your book - they had to in order to pitch it to sales and marketing and get it through acquisitions. But they will see its faults. They will see where the pace drops, or the characterisation flags. They will see where your story is muddled, or where your have lost sight of the heart of what you’re trying to say.

They will go through your work, intimately, and gently tell you all the places you need to make it better. They probably won’t tell you how to make it better, but they will let you bounce ideas off them until you come up with an improvement. 

As a writer, what more could you ask for than someone as committed as you to making your book the best it can be?

I recently had my first editorial meeting for a Secret Project.  I got so excited at the new ideas it generated that the boss asked me to keep the noise down. Through a partition wall. I know, mildly embarrassing. But the book is going to be SO MUCH BETTER. Of course I got excited.

It does now mean I have a major rewrite on a moderately tight deadline but what a gift. I’m 14% in to the changes , I have direction and enthusiasm and a belief in the new book that only comes from the endorsement of people you trust seeing what you see. Potential.

If you get given this chance, embrace it. You will learn so much if you let go a little:
  • Don’t be too precious about your beautiful words - there might be better words. 
  • Don’t hang on too tight to characters you adore who just aren’t needed in this story - park them up for another story - maybe their own story if they’re that good. 
  • Remember you are not best placed to see where your story lacks ‘something’ , you know it inside out and may be mentally filling in blanks that the reader can’t see.

Be grateful that someone else wants to help make your story great. Love your editor like they love your story.  Remember, they’re pulling it apart for one reason only: so you can rebuild it. Better.

 Kathryn Evans is the award winning author of More of MeA gripping thriller with a sinister sci-fi edge, exploring family, identity and sacrifice. Find her  on Facebook and Instagram @kathrynevansauthor and tweeting @KathrynEvansInk. 


  1. Couldn't agree more. My books wouldn't have become what they are without two truly excellent editors: Ruth Knowles and Imogen Cooper.

  2. Speaking as an editor, I love this!
    Also - don't be afraid to argue back. Our job is to provoke you into improving your book, and you might well have a much better idea of how to do that.


Comments are the heart and soul of the Slushpile community, thank you! We may periodically turn on comments approval when trolls appear.

Share buttons bottom