I'm beginning to wonder if the notion exists that the epublishing industry and the fast food industry are on the same par. Short on nutrition and service, just get ‘em in, get ‘em served, get ‘em out.
In the past few weeks I’ve (or someone I know) experienced the following: (disclaimer: before you read this and think “gasp! She’s talking about me!” rest assured, I am not. If these were isolated instances, they’d hardly be worth mentioning).
Hurry it up! An established author urging her editor to “hurry up and finish” her edits because a friend had just received a release date and it was five months from now. So since release dates were “getting out there” the author wanted the editor to hurry up. Having experienced this one myself, I can tell you that the first reaction from the editor is to think “well, sweetie, maybe if you’d sent me a cleaner manuscript to work with…” Sure I may love your voice as an author, and your heroes may make my toes curl and the love scenes make my heart pound…but I’m still going to thoroughly edit your manuscript. If you truly want to shorten your turn around time, take a look at the last MS you and your editor worked on. What did the edits focus on? Less ly and ing words? Removing dialogue tags? Over or under punctuation? Before submitting your new MS, go over it one more time with an eye toward strengthening the areas you focused on last time. You and your editor will both be happier with the turn around time.
Response times. When I send an author edits, whether she’s a brand new author I’ve just rejected with a two page list of revisions or an established author whom I’ve sent a handful of edits on a contracted MS, I don’t expect it back in my inbox the same day. Certainly not the same hour! Boomerang resubmissions or jumping on your edits doesn’t show me how efficient you are, it tells me you don’t proof read, that you’re not careful, that you don’t—to borrow a line from Hallmark—care enough to send your very best. And that means I’m going to go over those revisions even more thoroughly since I can’t depend on you to do so. Which means I‘ll need to set aside even more time to work on them... which means you'll be waiting that much longer to get them back from me.
Did you get my email? Huh? Did you? Did you? I really love it (she said, tongue firmly planted in cheek) when my busy inbox is made even more full by this type of email. While you, the author, may only be working with one editor at a time, chances are your editor is working with several different authors at once. Most of us sort our emails daily and address them in order of importance. I try to respond to all emails within 48 hours, but like you, I enjoy taking the occasional weekend or holiday off, and –also like you--sometimes unexpected things arise that throw my best laid plans asunder. So if you sent me an email late Friday afternoon, please don’t send me a “did you get my email?” message first thing Monday morning... followed by another one Monday afternoon... and another one later Monday afternoon... Wait at least 48 business hours before checking back. Obviously if you have an editor who consistently ignores your emails, that’s a different issue, but 48 hours is a good rule of thumb for checking back on a non-urgent email.
And none of that can be accomplished in the time it takes to visit your local drive through.