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Writers Share Advice on the Editorial Letter

For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing a series on the publishing process, starting with the editorial letter. Today I’ve asked my writer friends if they could share their advice on how to deal with the editorial letter. I think they’ve got some great tips.



R.C. Lewis, author of STITCHING SNOW tells us:

Take a moment to enjoy the positive things your editor points out, but only a moment, before you embrace the gnarly, suggestion-y guts of the thing.


S. J. Laidlaw, author of AN INFIDEL IN PARADISE says:

Never lose sight of the fact that you and your editor both want what’s best for your book.

Drawing of Carmella created by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Carmella Van Vleet, author of ELIZA BING IS (NOT) A BIG FAT QUITTER says:

I like to read an editorial letter once, all the way through, and then let it all simmer for a while; don’t jump into revisions right away. 



Robin Constantine, author of  THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, Balzer + Bray, December 31, 2013 says:

Read it with an open mind, and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns or disagreements with your editor. Don’t act on the letter immediately.  Give it a day or so to process everything!



Andrea Mack on revising for an agent says:

Think hard about what’s at the heart of an agent or editor’s recommendations, because there are many ways to accomplish the same thing and you need to be sure to find the right way for your story.


A big thanks to these writers for all their advice! For more on the publishing process, check out these links:

Next week, I’ll be talking about line edits! Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? Feel free to share in the comment section.


13 Responses to Writers Share Advice on the Editorial Letter

  1. Leandra says:

    This is all great advice- I hope to get to apply it some day! =)

  2. Krystalyn says:

    Great post! As someone who’s about to dive headfirst into edits, it’s good to remind myself to look at them positively.

  3. I like to let my editorial letter sink in before I tackle edits too. I think you need time to process before you make those changes.

  4. Julie Dao says:

    So very cool to hear from writers who are further along in the process! I am storing all of these tidbits up for when my time comes (*fingers crossed*).

  5. Bish Denham says:

    It’s so nice to know — should I ever get such a letter 🙂 — that I can ease into it, discuss and question.

  6. Great advice and insight. I love how the input from multiple authors.

  7. This is the part I’m getting nervous about, but knowing the goal is to make the ms stronger will help me get through it. I’m just going to keep reading these authors’ advice to remind myself that.

  8. Mirka Breen says:

    Perfect advice. *Sitting on it* seems to be the consensus.
    I find that if I let it sit for a wee bit, then tackle what makes the most sense (to me) first, it all falls into place and everyone is happy. Because, as S. J. Laidlaw says, you both want the same thing: a better book.

  9. There’s some great advice. I’d say the same in receiving responses from critique partners–or at least, good critique partners who actually want your work to be its best.

  10. I loved this post. So insightful and perfect timing. I’ve just received editorial notes from an agent and letting them simmer for a few days has helped so much. One of her suggestions included deleting my prologue and first chapter. Now, that some time has passed, I have a better idea how to revise skillfully.

    • Venessa- Congrats on getting your letter! It’s hard to let go of parts of your book that you really love, but at the same time I also find it invigorating because it makes you see your story from a different perspective. Good luck!

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