Saturday, June 30, 2007

Does Your Muse Work Weekends?

Okay, now this may sound like a silly question. After all, we all know that as writers, we pretty much have to work all the time. Between day jobs where we can't do our own writing, and families whose needs have nothing to do with writing, and all those lovely little household tasks that crowd out time for writing...some of us may be thinking, "Duh. Of course. When else is there?" (Unless you're a vampire, one of the undead, and then you don't need to sleep.) But this evening at Mass, our pastor talked about putting God first in our lives. And whether we do. Or to what degree. And if our commitment is so authentic that literally nothing keeps us from serving God. Or, if we're not doing all we can for God...for our church...for our parish...etc., then what is holding us back? It got me thinking. For those of you who ain't got religion and who stumbled upon this by accident, don't leave too fast. You can be in on this, too. If we're truly living for God... If God is truly who we're loving with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, and all our strengths... And God says to "keep holy the Sabbath day"... Then if our Muse works that day, is that honoring to God? Some of us would answer an immediate "Who cares?" (Those are the ones what ain't got religion and/or who may have thought this was one of those allegedly Catholic blogs that's actually a thinly disguised dissident rant blog about What's Wrong With The Church. Sorry, guys and gals, for the misdirection. If you like, you can leave now. But we'll pray for you!) Some of us would say, "But of course. I write for God. He knows this is the only time I have." Do you? And does He? Or would He rather you spend your time doing something else on the Sabbath? Have you asked Him? Do you continue to ask Him? Do you ever get so caught up in your writing that you "forget" about other Sunday/weekend obligations? Or resent them? Or find yourself working out a plot line when you're supposed to be concentrating on the Eucharistic Prayer? (Not that I would know anything about that last one. No, sir.) Before I started thinking about the balancing act we call our lives in this particular light, I would have said, "You betcher sweet bippy my Muse works on weekends. Or she's fired." Now, I'm not so sure that's always the best answer. Oh, that's a great answer for a "serious" writer. Every spare minute, we carve out for the Muse, or we are wasting that valuable time. Yeah, of course, your real life has to come first, but... Well, that's certainly the world's standard. Produce or get out of the way. And Sunday, or your particular Sabbath...in that mindset...cannot be anything more than another day of the week. If it's a day you're not at the day job, hallelujah! You're free to write! (And you'd better have your butt in the chair bright and early, too, Missy...) But we're not called to the world's standard, are we? We're called to a gold standard of putting God first. Even before the Muse. And trusting that if we do, He'll give us the time for the rest. But we have to put the time in with Him first, before that promise gets fulfilled. And in reality, if it worked the other way around, it'd be meaningless. Because then we're saying, "Okay, God, if you give me this time to write, I'll _________ for you." Notice what comes first in that bargain. And notice, just for a moment, how backwards that is. I'll probably be writing tomorrow, if that's where God wants me to be. But He might not. He might have a better place in mind. And if He does, I'm going to do my best to be aware of that, and open to it, and trust Him to provide for my Muse to do her thing when it's time for that as well. I'm not saying this is going to be easy.... I'm just going to try to be more aware of it from now on. And sometimes, possibly, my Muse may take a weekend off. Or at least a Sabbath. What will come out of my keyboard once it's surrendered to God might be very, very interesting. May just be the best work I've ever done. I'm looking forward to finding out. Thoughts? Janny

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is...II

...Or, You Get What Comes With It As my former hairdresser always put it, “Be careful what you wish for. Because if you get it, you get what comes with it.” Quite frankly, I would submit that that—rather than sheer gutlessness—is actually what keeps many of us from pursuing the path of courage I mentioned yesterday. Because asserting yourself means you have to take “what comes with it.” Sometimes, that can be terrifying. Or expensive. Or both. Long ago, I held a position where I was doing corporate newsletters for a major career consulting firm on a contractor basis. The CEO of the company was a pretty nice guy, as CEOs go, but he also had some typical CEO-type blind spots, and one of them was that he had no clue how to deal with me as a contractor. In his worldview, I was just an administrator of a satellite office out of Chicago, and so he kept trying to treat me like any other admin: expecting me to come and work Convention for the company for no extra pay, being slow to pay me for my contract work…you get the picture. Finally, I’d had enough of his office treating me like a second-class citizen; I’d had enough of never knowing when checks were coming, being lied to about when they’d been sent, and him expecting me to work 12-hour days at a Convention when that wasn’t even my job to do. But before I went into confrontation with this guy, my mentor, a career advisor with this organization, said to me, “Yeah, you’re right. And yeah, you need to tell him this stuff. But just know that when you make this stand, he may disagree. He may decide it’s just not worth the hassle to deal with you. So you have to be prepared to walk away.” This was a scary prospect, because I had no other income. But having income that you can’t depend on is almost as bad as having none at all…and so I went into battle with the guy. I sent him a polite letter and invoice indicating that he still owed for previous newsletter months, and so until he paid that bill, his office wouldn’t receive their mailing that month. To take such a step with a CEO of a company is not being “nice.” I knew that. And I knew when he called me, loaded for bear, I was going to get an earful about how “nice” I wasn’t being. The funny part was, though, that he started his diatribe with something along the lines of “I’ve never before had an employee do this—” At which point I politely interrupted, “You haven’t had an employee do that this time, either, Mr. Big. I’m not your employee.” At which point he sputtered, so I calmly continued. “Do you pay me a salary? “Well…no.” “Do I work in your office?” “No.” “Do you pay any of my medical benefits?” “No. “Do you pay toward my pension?” “No.” “Do you pay Social Security tax on me?” “Uh…no.” “Then guess what?” The bottom line was, what my career advisor friend had predicted would happen did, in fact, happen. Mr. Big decided that this “just wasn’t working,” and that he would bring the newsletters in-house. He had a potential editor already in mind for them, as a matter of fact, and it would just be “better” if they were in New York at corporate headquarters. (It wasn’t, of course. The person he hired was an artist, not an editor, and we went from a 14- to 16-page house organ chock-full of human interest stories to a 4-pager with some pretty clip art, but no photos, no personal stories, wooden writing, and four obvious typos in the first issue. To say it was a lame replacement would be being kind.) The impact upon my life was immediate. I got paid for the final newsletters I did, and then my association with that organization, and the money that came with it, was over. So was the hassle. But so was the security, sketchy though it was at times. And that, above all, is what terrifies most of us. Keeps us silent. Keeps us hedging our bets. Convinces us that a crumb off the loaf is better than nothing. We know that if we stand up for ourselves, we’ll get what comes with it. And sometimes, what comes with it can hurt. We may have to walk away from a book sale, when that’s all we’ve wanted for our entire lives…and we don’t know if we’ll ever get another chance. We may get vilified by “authorities” in our lives for being “too big for our britches.” We may even lose friends over taking a stand they didn’t take. And so the little voice in our head screams at us, and we knuckle under. We get that sick feeling in the pits of our stomachs—the one that tells us when we’ve sold ourselves short—but we rationalize it. We tell ourselves “no one” can do any better as a beginner, as a first-time author, with an industry as overcrowded with product as ours is, etc., etc., etc. We tell ourselves that there are thousands of people willing to take our places if we don’t buy in. And that slot will be filled with no skin off the publishers’ noses. All of that, in part, is true. But once again, it’s true because we’ve allowed it to be so. If we stopped contributing to our end of that equation, however, the same thing would happen that happened to that unfortunate CEO. He got an inferior product. He got complaints from the field. And he got, ultimately, much less than he could have had if he’d just been willing to meet a fellow professional on an even playing field. The question is, how many of us are willing to stand up to fear. To refuse to give it quarter. To act like adults, instead of scared children, and stop treating publishers, editors, or agents like “authority figures” when in fact, what they are is buyers of our products. In other words, customers. Of course, the name of the game is keeping customers happy. But I submit that we can keep customers happy without giving away our pride, our self-esteem, or the store. If we knuckle under too many times, it’s no longer a buyer/seller relationship, but a master/slave one. And none of us deserves that. We just have to be adult enough to take what comes with it. In the end, what comes with that stand is richer than we can imagine in our wildest dreams. I now have a way better job, and way better freelance writing gigs, than that corporate newsletter ever was in its best days. But to get to that place, I had to leave the old one behind…and take what came with it. Are we game? Janny

Thursday, June 28, 2007

...Not nearly as dangerous as I thought I was!

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is...

First, a little housekeeping! I did misread the calendar. Yesterday was the feast of St. Cyril...last Thursday was the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. Think the man ever dreamed so many people would know his name every March? (hee hee) Can't imagine how I made such an egregious mistake, since my day gig is all about making sure to AVOID egregious mistakes. (I just love that word "egregious.") But, onward and upward. Was having an interesting conversation this week about publishers' interests versus authors' interests--and why in the world they have to be "versus" in the first place--when the notion once again reared its ugly head that publishers have all the control, authors have none, and that's why things sometimes turn into the messes they do. But is that truly the case? I submit not. Or at least, I submit that it doesn't have to be. But it can only change if we're willing to stop being so danged scared of our own shadows. For years, I've seen authors--both the unpublished and the already-published--walk around on eggshells, afraid of the slightest thing. They're afraid to ask an agent for a status report after six months without a word. They're afraid to ask an editor for a status report after a year (!). They're afraid to ask for changes in a contract. They're afraid to ask that a royalty statement be printed in English. They're afraid to say anything that might be misinterpreted in an e-mail, in an elevator, or even in the privacy of a conversation among friends. But most of all, they're afraid to be honest about a lot of personal experiences...when honesty might actually help a lot of people in the long run (including themselves). But honesty sometimes means that what you say could sound negative to someone, some time, in some instance. So, no matter how true it is, they hold back. Why? Because someone, some time, might overhear it, get offended, the next thing they know, they'll be "blacklisted" forever in the writing business. All that anxiety, and all so unnecessary. Some years ago, a prominent male author was in a public interview situation (a press conference? book signing? whatever) where news had just broken that he'd left one publisher to sign his next book with another. In the process of talking about why he'd left, he simply said outright that one publisher gave him a better deal than the other one. He hadn't felt that the first one was ready to go to the mat quite as strongly with his second book as his new publisher would. They'd offered more money, they'd offered him a better marketing plan, etc., etc., etc. The reaction from most of the marketplace? "You go, guy." The reaction from RWA? "OHMYGOD!" Rampant horror. Rampant dissing of the man involved, indignation that he would act so "unprofessionally," etc. Did the publishers care? Heck, no. They smiled, went about their business, and life went on. Now why the disconnect? It sounds sexist to say so, but I suspect it's because RWA is predominantly made up of females. And for some reason, the female mind seems to prize "niceness" above all else in the world--even in business. Males, as we all know if we live with them, put "niceness" way down the list of things to even think about, much less worry about, especially in the marketplace. (!) A man's world is dog-eat-dog, may-the-best-man-win, and if you don't like what I say about you...oh, well. Maybe you'll learn from it and do better by your next customer. Which is nothing more nor less than a) perfectly good business sense, and b) the way the free market operates. You treat me well, I'll stay with you. Someone else comes along who's prepared to treat me better...well, you just may lose me as a client. C'est la vie. No one holds a grudge against you if you take your business to Dominick's instead of Kroger's when Dominick's gives you a better deal. You can even go back to Kroger's when they have a sale, and the checkers will happily wait on you. They may even smile at you. In any event, they sure won't "blacklist" you or "blackball" you or consider you "less than a reliable businessperson" for shopping around to get the best deal for yourself. They'll be happy they provide the best deal, and they'll leave it at that. So why is the writing world, in so many circles, considered so different? "Publishing is a small world," is usually the answer that comes back. "It's a small community. You do something nasty to someone in it, and word will get around, and you'll appear less attractive to everyone else in it. And THEY'RE ALWAYS LISTENING!!!!!" (Note: in the real world, that last sentence is considered a treatable mental illness. 'Nuff said.) I can understand if you actually do nasty things, how they'll come around to get you. Even men will waste no mercy on someone who (pardon my French) screws 'em over. But a good healthy attitude of do-unto-others gets out of control when we start defining "nasty" as including everything that has the remotest possibility of offending someone, somewhere. --like asking a clueless question at a writers' conference. (Hello? Aren't writers' conferences supposed to be for learning? So how do we do that if we don't ask?) --like failing to "dress for success" when it's called for. (Like anyone really knows what that is, or when the instances are. But heaven help you if you actually think that blue jeans can be professional attire, anywhere, at any time.) --like (horror of horrors) daring to say out loud that Suzy Millionseller's latest book was less than stellar, and that you didn't much care for her previous two, either. --like (double horror) saying that the romance genre--or any genre of which you're a part--doesn't always hit a home run. That some books out there are just plain stupid. That some of them are pornographic, in the good old-fashioned sense of the word that we all "know when we see." And that, far from "empowering" women, many of these books set up women to believe that if they just play their physical card effectively enough, they'll "tame" an alpha man and make him their slave. (Yeah, right. Now there's a healthy basis for happy-ever-after.) --or, like (worst horror of all) daring to say out loud that one publisher was willing to pay you more than another, and so--nothing personal--you're jumping ship. Or that Mr. High Powered Agent may be high powered for some people, but he didn't do right by you. Or that you sure wish those royalty statements you get from Major Market Bow Down and Thank Your Lucky Stars Publisher were actually written in a language normal human beings could understand...so you could know for sure if they were really paying you what they're supposed to be paying you. Yes, there will always be stupid people out there in publishing, just like there are stupid people out there in all the other occupations we inhabit. And rude people. And snotty people. And people who walk all over someone else to get to where they're going. Those people deserve whatever they get. The majority of us, however, are not stupid, rude, cruel, snotty, or manipulative. Yet we can be made to feel any of those, or a combination of them, if we start speaking out too loud, too publicly, or too impolitely...by standards that would dismiss most churchwomen as impolite. And that's insanity. The reason authors have no control, quite simply, is because they take none. Because they're convinced it's somehow not "nice" to take the power. Or to ask someone else about it. Or to spread the word when they don't get treated well. I can tell you from this side of the desk, trust me...if you're good enough, and a publisher wants your work, you can ask for a lot of things, and you just might get them. Go for it. See what happens. And off the record, every editor I've ever talked with will tell you the same thing. But I don't know more than a handful of authors who truly believe it. Just as one example--we in romance celebrate that now, authors don't "have to" use a pseudonym at the big houses. Isn't that wonderful? Hardly. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for not insisting upon it years ago--not celebrating when the publishers were finally "gracious" enough to give us what was ours to begin with. And the fact is, certain authors did always have that right...because they were willing to walk away if it wasn't given to them. In short? Abusive boilerplate contracts, bad royalty statements, sloppy bookkeeping, lack of promotion, or broken promises happen because no one says, "No, I'm sorry, that's not good enough." Or even "Wait a minute." It's because so many of us are so desperate to see our names on the cover of a book...we'll sell out for the proverbial "$1.49 and a kitten." And keep our mouths shut about the rest of it. But that's not just dumb; that's perpetuating a standard of behavior that would be considered bad business behavior in pretty much any other industry, among pretty much any other people. One of the few authors I've ever heard of who had the courage to say "No, thank you, that's simply not enough money," and hung up the phone, not only didn't get blackballed--she got Zebra calling her back in less than three minutes with a better offer. On a first-time contract. Without an agent. It can be done. It has been done. But when someone does it, we write it off as an "exception." As "luck." Or, worse, we react with horror instead of admiration. We diss the author in question, instead of taking a page from his or her book and being unwilling to give up the power we do have--which is the power of having a product that, like it or not, publishers need. If we all said "No" tomorrow, we'd all get better deals the day after tomorrow...because they've got to have product to survive. Yes, we need them to sell it. But they also need us to create it. So what are we so afraid of? Fear is a lousy reason to do anything, especially in our writing careers. Let's screw up our courage, determine what we need and what we're willing to sacrifice, and then stick to our guns. And let's encourage other people to do the same. Who knows? If they're really "always listening," maybe they'll catch on fast! Thoughts? Janny

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So what day is it again?

If you are an alum of Gonzaga University… My calendar at home says today is your feast day! But all the online sources say it was last Thursday. Such is the nature of online information versus print versus… Sheesh! In other news, your favorite blogger (me) has been sidelined temporarily due to an extravagant workload in the day gig, as well as some past crises on the home front. Things are relatively calm at the moment, although I'm broke…still waiting on a freelance check. Will write more when time permits! Janny

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Be Careful What You Pray For, Final Chapter...

or, That Sinking Feeling It’s been an interesting week. For awhile now, I’ve been in a writing funk, as you all know. Some people would pooh-pooh the idea of a funk if they’ve been able to write blog entries, and there’s something to be said for that. I can write blog stuff, I can write e-mails…I’m not totally blank. But for awhile I’ve been wondering if my day gig has completely wiped out my creative abilities. If I spend so much time fixing other people’s stuff and making sure it’s good to go that when I’m finally at the keyboard to do my own thing…there’s no “thing” left to do. The energy, the spark, and the creative juices are dry, because I’ve poured them out on someone else. It’s always been a thought worth considering. In fact, before I took this gig, I did some hard thinking about it, part of which was debunking and/or getting past the notion of “Those who can’t, edit,” and seeing the move as “selling out” because I couldn’t “make it as a writer.” The reasons for all that being untrue are myriad, and I won’t go into them now. But I sit now in a different chair, with a different perspective from behind the desk…for altogether different reasons. I've run into a couple of incidents at work this week that have left me feeling unsettled, and I'm considering carefully, and yet again, what I decided to do with my life way back when I was ten. That, after all, is when I first read a book about the publishing business and decided I wanted to “do that” when I grew up. “That” being, specifically, being a book editor. Which I am now. But which I’m now wondering about as a choice—if for no other reason than to figure out a better way to apportion my energies so something is left for me. (!) 'Tis a dilemma, to be sure. And I don't doubt that it's contributed at least a little bit to aforementioned writing funk. The only question now is, what's to be done about it. Thoughts? Janny

Monday, June 11, 2007

Now, a view from the author side...

...of the proverbial desk. I had to smile at one comment that came in about what an author would want from an editor—"a publishing contract would be nice!" Yes, it is. It is, indeed. But this is actually a musing from beyond that point, when you’re talking seriously about a publishing contract and/or offer. Say, in the best of all possible worlds, that you have two or more publishers interested in your work. (Hey, it could happen.) How do you pick the one you want to go with, or stay with? Well, my first gut level answer isn’t everything—but it’s way ahead of what’s in second place. And I see this “little detail” forgotten about, or sacrificed, so many times around me that I think it’s high time someone stepped in and asked why. First requirement for me to consider my work respected, much less sold? Show me the money. I’m a big fan of advances; quite frankly, I don’t think much of publishers who don’t offer them. The Bible says where your treasure is, there will your heart be—and I want my publisher behind that book, heart and soul. To me, the best way to ensure at least a modicum of that attention is to get some kind of dollar commitment out of ‘em first! The longer I go in this business, the more I believe that publishing your book with a house that pays no advances is in essence the same as paying to publish it yourself. In effect, you are paying to publish it—you’re foregoing an advance to cover publishing costs. While this can be a “nice” gesture in certain particular cases, if you’re not careful, it can soon turn your writing into a charity rather than a business. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not in this entirely for my own amazement. Of course, there are exceptions, big-name ones in some cases. Years ago, I heard that Harlequin didn’t pay advances for its specific Romance line. (Just the specific Romance line, not the Presents, or the Intrigue, or the others; just so we’re clear.) Sounded like a bad deal, until the author giving us this information explained that those no-advance contracts also included the automatic, pre-scheduled worldwide distribution and publicity that Harlequin did for all its books—with the result that at that point in time (which was several years ago), the average Harlequin Romance author was making $75,000 in royalties per book. Yup, you heard right. That was an average. Some people even made more. And while it didn’t come in all at once, enough of it came in within a normal time frame in the industry that even if you had to wait for half of it until the foreign sales were completed, you were still making pretty darned good money, over a pretty darned long period of time. Add to that the fact that most Harlequin Romance authors wrote way more than one book a year, and it’s not hard to do that math and come up with the conclusion we all came to, which was “Where do I sign?” (!) But that’s not the kind of no-advance publisher I’m talking about in this particular spot. I’m talking about the instances more familiar to most of us: the startup publisher, the small press, the e-press, and the like. Many authors I know are willing to go with publishers who have no cash to put up front in exchange for the compensatory “warm fuzzies” of being treated well, having personal contact with the editors, etc., or who believe in a startup/small house and are willing to wait for “back end” compensation in the form of increased royalties. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Nothing—if you’re also in the habit of throwing other money into investment schemes with complete strangers, for no more reward than their heartfelt thanks and a few compliments thrown in. In the end, if you “sell” your book for “no money down,” that’s exactly what you’re doing. And I would submit that that is not the best way to build a successful writing career. “But they’re nice to me,” you say. “They ‘get’ me. They appreciate my voice. They don’t mess with me. They communicate with me, they’re accessible to me…” et al. That’s great. That is indeed the kind of working relationship you want to have with someone. But why does it have to come at your expense? Make no mistake: merely because you’re not taking out your checkbook up front doesn’t mean you’re not paying for those fuzzies. If you’re not taking out a deposit slip and going to the bank, you’re still losing money in the transaction from the get-go. In our everyday lives, when people try to get us to part with something valuable for nothing more than promises and a little praise, we back away. Why not in this case? Bottom line, your publisher is supposed to treat you well. They’re supposed to afford you personal contact with your editor. Those aren’t “extras,” and they don’t reflect “bending over backwards”—they’re only what is due you as a fellow professional in the writing business. As a professional, you are entitled to fuzzies and cash. I’m not saying it has to be a lot of cash. We all joke about six-figure advances, but let’s face it: those can have their own sets of problems as well. (!) But surely our work is worth something. Some kind of commitment from the house in question that moves it from “Yeah, we want this,” to “Yeah, we believe in this enough to pay you for it up front, because we know we’ll make our money back and then some.” In the end, it’s the dollars—not the praise, not compliments, not applause or appreciation—that make you a professional in your field. It’s the dollars—not the signed contract in itself—that make your book “sold.” Without some cash up front, you’re basically giving the book away on spec; if you’re going to do that, you may as well self-publish. You’ll get a much better deal in the long run, because at least you’ll guarantee by this that the person paying for the publishing will care about whether the book is a success. That simply cannot be said for a publisher who doesn’t pay you anything for a sale. No matter how “nice” they are, no matter how much they claim to like what you do, it’s a sheer numbers game at that point: if they don’t put any more than minimal production money behind your project, it’s no skin off their noses if your book doesn’t succeed. They just “buy” enough of these books from enough different authors so that, eventually, the odds catch up with them, one or two or half a dozen of these “bought” books catch fire, and those successes then “carry” the rest of you. That may be good enough for amateurs in the business. People who just want to see their names on book covers. But is it good enough for a professional building a career? It’s not for me. And it’s one of the first sorting mechanisms I use when considering where next to submit my Great American Novel. Because the way I figure it, if it’s really that great, someone else will think so besides me. And she’ll be willing to put her money where her praise is, to prove it. My take, Janny

Friday, June 08, 2007

The View from the Other Side…

…of the desk, that is. The recent discussion on Agent Kristin’s blog about “the client from hell” versus “the dream client”— plus some recent interactions with one of our authors — got me thinking (and you know how dangerous that is). For those of you who wonder what things get under a writer-cum-editor’s skin when she’s wearing the editorial hat…let me give you a few: 1. Forgetting who I work for — namely, the publisher. Yes, putting together a book is a collaborative venture, and ideally, we all get along thick as thieves. But that doesn’t mean that designating me “your editor” equates to “your (personal) employee.” Calling me up and dictating to me the next tasks I need to do for you as if I’m a bloody clerk (!) will only set my teeth on edge. And trust me, you don't want your editor's teeth on edge. 2. Not meeting your deadlines, especially if it happens again and again on the same book. ‘Nuff said. 3. Failing to get required permissions for any use of copyrighted material before you send it in. That means photos, song permissions, and the whole shot. That’s in your contract, and it’s your responsibility. (See #1 above about trying to foist it off on me.) 4. Turning in any work that’s not final-draft quality. If you need four drafts to do your best work, resist the temptation to slide by with your third. Yes, I’m a great editor. No, that doesn’t mean I enjoy rewriting books for people. And no, you are not the exception. 5. Being incommunicado for any length of time at a crucial juncture. This includes when I’ve sent you proofs and I have a deadline for their return; when I have questions that must be answered for text to be correct; when or if you’ve written something that just plain doesn’t make sense. It’s difficult to understand in this day and age why an author wouldn’t have some kind of e-mail service, but if you don’t, please provide an accurate phone number or other means of communication by which we can actually, truly reach you. 5a. Doing any of the above, and then complaining that your book may not come out on time. 6. Thinking that because you bring in tons of money for the company, you have a free pass. Corporate types are willing to bow and scrape if you bring in molto dollars; however, those dollars do not filter down to your editor. I get paid the same thing whether you’re a wonderful, dream author or you’re a pain in the butt, and my editing will be the same high quality regardless. I just ain’t gonna like it nearly as much…and I may find ways not to take on your next project if you become aforementioned pain. Note: #6 applies doubly if you’re anyone who ought to know better. In our particular case, these people are often ordained and/or consecrated clergy and religious…who really ought to know better. Once again, ‘nuff said. Next time…what do I want as an author when I deal with an editor on my stuff? Stay tuned! Janny