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Editors: The Seven Deadly Myths

Reassurance for worried authors.

Once in a while, I chat to authors, who mutter darkly about the terrible things they’ve heard about editors.

Unsurprisingly, these conversations reveal that there are a lot of factual inaccuracies floating around regarding editorial gatekeepers.

So, why not indulge me for a moment, while I attempt to dispel the rumours.



1. All editors are the same 

As far as I’m aware, I haven’t been cloned with other editors of my acquaintance. We are all quite different. Many of us specialise in certain genres. Others only offer particular services. There is no one-size-fits-all editor. You just need to find the right one for you.

2. Editors are evil destroyers of dreams

Yes, the bad ones probably are, but they are hopefully few and far between. I would recommend that you do your research before working with an editor, by using a reputable directory, looking at testimonials and asking lots of questions.

3. We change text purely to justify our existence 

Believe me – there simply isn’t the time or budget for me to interfere with your text just for the sake of it. It’s not my book.

4.  Editors hold all the power to make decisions about your book 

I’m sure the odd megalomaniac exists. But generally, no. Editing is a collaboration. In my experience, authors won’t take up all my suggestions, but they will hopefully think about them and then come up with another solution. After all, anything that resolves the issue and improves your book is the ultimate aim of the editing process.

5. Editors rigidly follow rules 

Where fiction is concerned – an area in which rule-breaking is often part of the appeal – imposing rules just for the sake of it would be a disservice to the author. And would also reduce the reader’s enjoyment. As editors are also readers, why would we want to do that?

6.  Anyone can edit a book 

One of my authors once told me that they wouldn’t ask their friends or family to do a root canal, so why would they ask them to edit their book? Enough said.

7. Editors will guarantee a perfect manuscript

Not unless they are a total glutton for punishment or utterly deluded, because editing is only one part of the publishing process. Why not find out where it fits with your writing.


I’m sure there will be other myths lurking about, but what is undeniable is that good editors have professional qualifications and are highly skilled.

So, why not delve a little deeper and separate the fact from fiction, by chatting to an actual editor today?

It might just be the start of a whole new conversation.

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