Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Myth Busting

Senior Editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, Cheryl Klein, (that would be my editor, Cheryl Klein---we authors are so possessive) is interviewed by Shelli at Market My Words. Go say hello.

Cheryl and I will meet each other for the first time this weekend at the Austin SCBWI Destination Publication Conference. We'll be doing a myth-busting session on the author/editor relationship. We have at least three myths to bust, but I'm curious:

What do you want to know about the author/editor relationship?

Is there a myth you'd like to see busted---or confirmed?

If you have an editor you're working with, what surprised you about the process?

P.S. Are you a fan of the TV show, Mythbusters? If not, why not? aqua fortis and I agree that a series of Mythbuster-based YA fiction or non-fiction would be awesome. Here's a link to the only Mythbusters book I can find.


  1. There's another Mythbusters book called Don't Try This At Home (978-0787983697) I book talk it all the time.

  2. I've never seen Mythbusters; the closest I come is reading snopes...

    A couple of questions I'd have would be:
    How do editors feel about authors who reject/fight back to their edits? I've heard editors don't like it when editors fight back but I wonder: Does it make them think the author is difficult? Do they prefer authors with a backbone? Actually, I'm sure it varies from editor to editor but thought I'd ask anyway.

    When I hear about people like you and Cheryl who get along so fantastically (even if you haven't met in person), I think: That's the way it should be. Editor and author! Friends! But is it? Can the relationship be just as fruitful without a friendship? Without, even, a liking for one another?

    And finally, for breakfast in Austin (or any time of day, really) you should check out: http://www.tacoxpress.com/ You won't be sorry!
    Have a fantastic time!

  3. Not long I wrote a blog post called Myth Busting: First Chapters. I admit my research was limited; I selected twenty-five recent releases at random from my bookshelf which leans heavily toward MG fantasy. This does not fall into the category of author/editor relationships, but I would be interested in hearing your and Cheryl's opinions on any of these rules.

  4. I enjoy Mythbusters because it's one of those shows you can watch with your kids. It's entertaining, it teaches kids not to believe everything they see on TV, and there's a bit about process in there too, working over snags, etc.

    I would be curious to know what makes an editor want (or not want) a second book with an author? How much does writing style versus story topic matter, if at all? How does this negotiation typically play out?

    BTW - while in Austin, get a cinnamon roll from Upper Crust bakery. You'll be spoiled for life.

  5. Did you know that Mythbusters Season Six is being released on dvd this week? My kids are so thrilled!

    They enjoyed Don't Try This At Home, but not as much as actually watching the show...

  6. First, thanks for the food suggestions! Yum.

    Second, great questions. Madelyn, Cheryl and I are discussing some of that very push-pull stuff, under the myths: The Editor is All-Knowing and If You Have to Revise, It's Not Art. Also, I *do* think an editor/author relationship can work without friendship. In fact, I consciously kept some distance at first because I didn't want anything (not even liking each other) to get in the way of the editing and revising process. I think what's necessary is not liking each other but respecting each other.

    Wendy, I'll have to defer to Cheryl on the second book question. If she has time, maybe she can answer here or post about it at her blog.

  7. As a prospective editor, I'd like to know how an editor is able to critique the author's work comfortably? It must be really difficult to change someone's art that they have worked really hard on! Is there anything someone like myself should know for future editor-author meetings?

  8. My books are non-fiction, so I imagine a few things are different, but the idea of the relationship is the same. I agree that respect is necessary, absolutely. Beyond that, I love my editor and can't wait to meet her in person one of these days. What fun, Sara!

    I love my editor for her candor, her keen eye, her insight and instincts, her objective feedback, and her encouragement.

    What I have learned about the author/editor relationship:

    What a fun and interesting collaboration it can be.

    As long as both parties are focused on *the work* and not on ego, a good book will be (I hope) the result.

    Not every word I write is precious cargo. Some of them should go.

    A talented editor is worth her weight in gold and books.

  9. I'm sure it was fantastic -- I hope you post a recap soon (no pressure! sort of.)


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or you will be deleted)

You can receive followup comments to this conversation by checking the "notify me" box below the comment window.