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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Editors are People, Too

Several years ago, I wrote a profile piece for "Guideposts for Kids." To make a long story short, the photography session they'd set up for aquiring the photo they needed for the publication fell through, and the magazine's art director called me and asked if I could take a picture for them. I agreed, but since I am in no way a photographer, I asked if he would tell me exactly what he wanted while I recorded it on my phone--just so I wouldn't make any mistakes.

To my surprise, he cleared his throat, and haltingly said, "Uh, I, uh, I have a cold."

From that experience, I learned editors REALLY are people. Like me, they have difficult, yet hopefully fun, jobs to do; and yet they also have insecurities. The only problem is they happen to hold the fruit of my dreams in their hands. But still, knowing they're people helps me navigate the publishing maze.

You know, in many ways, it's like working with a well-meaning but not all-knowing building contractor. Most of the time he's correct and knows exactly what he's doing, but not always. Sometimes a laundry drain doesn't work right or a wall isn't perfectly square. And sometimes an editor rejects us. But, hey, he's (or she's) only human. They make mistakes, too. I just hope I can tell the difference between a mistake and an opportunity to correct--or rebuild, as the case may be.


Anna Maria Junus said...

You have such great posts.

I know I tend to think of editors as these enourmous 50 foot guards to a world of success. They wield big swords that can cut you down just for showing up at the door. Sometimes, if you have the magic surrounding you, they'll escort you through, but most of time you're turned away at the door.

It's nice to know they're not 50 feet tall.

C. L. Beck said...

Thanks for the reminder to think of editors as people, doing their best in a job that's not so easy.