Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When You Pay the Editor

Kathryn Page Camp

What does a sleeping child have to do with editing?

Not much.

When I looked for a photograph to draw attention to this post, I couldn’t find any good ones about editing or editors that didn’t raise copyright issues. But I did have a cute picture of my daughter when she was about eleven months old, so I wondered if there was any way I could tie it in. Here’s what I came up with.

You’ve chosen an editor and handed over your baby, who is wide awake and ready to go on an action adventure. (Or at least that’s how you see it.) When you get your baby back, you discover that the editor has changed the action adventure into a bedtime story.

I admit that the analogy is a stretch, and a very long one at that. A good editor would tell me to eliminate the analogy—and the photo—and find another way to start the post.

So here’s the question: Do I have to take my editor’s advice?

Not if I’m paying the editor. I’m the boss and can do whatever I want, which includes rejecting any suggestions I don’t agree with.

But just because I can doesn’t mean I should.

I pay the editor for advice, so ignoring it is the same as wasting my money. Not that I take every piece of advice she gives me—I don’t. Still, I seldom reject her suggestions completely. I may not use her words, but I try to clarify the passage without changing the meaning.

When you pay the editor, you are the boss. You get to decide which suggestions to take and which to reject.

But remember why you hired an editor in the first place.


Kathryn Page Camp is a licensed attorney and full-time writer. Writers in Wonderland: Keeping Your Words Legal was a Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month Selection for April 2014. The second edition of Kathryn’s first book, In God We Trust: How the Supreme Court’s First Amendment Decisions Affect Organized Religion, was released on September 30, 2015. You can learn more about Kathryn at

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