Friday, June 26, 2009

Communication is Important

Let's say you've had an argument with your spouse. Perhaps about house cleaning, or taking the trash out. My husband hates to take the trash out, and we're always disagreeing about whose responsibility it is.

Or, perhaps you're arguing about the proper punishment for a recalcitrant teen. You get mad, and your sentences become short and terse. Anger punctuates them, and the whole idea that you're not being understood causes you to throw up your hands.

I've had those sorts of ah, conversations, and if we're being honest, all of us have. What is the solution? Good ole fashioned communication. It means you say your side, they say yours, and you both listen at the appropriate times. That listening part is real important to communication. If you're just waiting your turn, you're not listening, and the situation is liable to remain unresolved.

The same thing is true with your relationship with your editor or publisher, or both. I got some edits back for my book, and didn't agree with some of the suggestions. I wasn't sure what to do, because I thought the publisher and editor would "automatically" agree. And, I don't know the publisher too well, so my stomach was tied up in knots and I didn't know what I was going to do.

I felt like making some of the suggested changes compromised my story. A friend advised me to contact the publisher. But, I was so intimidated! I didn't want to be labeled a bad author to work with, but I could not, in good conscience, make some of the changes.

What I did was email the editor, explain my position, and wait. That waiting was the hard part. The same friend told me again to contact the publisher, so I finally did...turns out she agreed with me and not the editor! Wow! And I was so nervous.

But what I DIDN'T do was talk to either one of them while I was angry. I've made that mistake before, and ended up with severe foot-in-the-mouth disease.

So, communicate with your editor and/or publisher. Be succinct, but respectful. Be ready to be wrong; conversely, be ready to be right! The whole thing is not about who is right or wrong, but communicating your position, and hearing theirs. Oft times the solution is somewhere in the middle.


kennonward said...


You are so right communication is very important in all relationships. Especially between spouses. We have those conversations and sometimes they get out of hand but we continue to talk and it works out.

Morgan Mandel said...

In Girl of My Dreams, when I got the cover art, I was not happy with the hair. I thought aobut it overnight and decided to ask for a change. My input was accepted and I felt much better. It pays to speak your mind.

Morgan Mandel