Everyone knows a good editor is the key to fine-tuning your literary works. What most people don’t realize is how to uncork the full potential of your editor’s talents and, therefore, maximize their value. Begin by engaging your own perspective through your editor’s point of view. What are they thinking and how are they feeling about this project? In my case, my editor, Mary Kay Landon, is a dear friend of mine. So I needed to consider that she may harbor feelings of anxiety around being too insulting with her critique. First of all, I needed to gain Mary Kay’s favorable attention by appealing to her pride. This is done by identifying your editor’s strengths and the potential value she will bring to your work and sharing these acknowledgements with your editor. The concept of favorable attention was taught to me by my father, Wes Gibson, who learned it from his father (my grandfather) Charles Gibson. Gaining another person’s favorable attention helps to create an ally by appealing to the individual’s pride by giving them a positive compliment. This simple action helps to lower their tendency to object or resist what you’re about to present. Try it. It works!
Next, being the book’s author, it was my responsibility to initiate and establish an understanding that I would not be insulted or hold a grudge regardless of her commentaries and general feedback. In other words, I was not going to allow any such threats to jeopardize our friendship. Creating and, more importantly, following through with this pledge helps to eliminate any resistance Mary Kay would have had to sharing every ounce of her thoughts about my work. And make sure you are prepared to embrace whatever criticism your editor provides. Remember, it’s a privilege to have their fresh eyes reviewing your hard work.
Ultimately, removing this threat of Mary Kay holding back from sharing everything she was thinking and feeling (both good and bad) would deliver better results and it worked! Book 1 of my Extra Innings Trilogy: The Diamond Thieves, is an enhanced and much easier read than before I handed it over to Mary Kay. The value gained through her observations will be forever appreciated. Thank you Mary Kay for your hard work and discernment.