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... two, actually.

If there's one thing I don't worry about, it's marketing my author's books. As long as I can help them make their book as good as they can make it, I'm happy, and I feel I've done a good job.

I work with authors of hugely varying levels of experience, skill, talent and motivation in a wide age range. I can't give examples because most of them will start trying to identify themselves.

I try to give each one what he needs, and to be absolutely even handed with all of them.

And then, there are these other two. I don't want to give enough detail for them to identify themselves, as it would be a violation of my instinct for even-handedness. For further anonymization I'm pretending they're both men, though one or both could be a woman.

Bob is as close as I've ever seen to a natural storytelling talent.
Jim is naturally gripping; his voice as much as his story doesn't draw you in so much as take you firmly by the shoulder, sit you in a comfy chair and calmly bid you "read" until you get to the end.

Looking at the finished results of working with Bob and Jim, after my warnings and suggestions, their rewrites (and Laurie's (consistently excellent) corrections if applicable), I just want to shout about these writers to everyone. One of them is actively looking for recognition. The other hardly even thinks of himself as a writer, let alone someone who should write the hell more books because all his readers will want more.

While all of my authors make sales, some more than others for no particular reason I can see, these two (and this is the part that is difficult to say in public) are the ones who compare favourably with the classics of English and French literature that I grew up reading.

Neither of them is known as an author at all. And I know that my reach is pretty limited, insofar as the people that I can reach will give much weight to my opinions.

I don't give Bob or Jim any assistance beyond what I give to everyone else. The question is, should I? My own instinctive discretion aside, I'm sure you can imagine all the other reasons I can come up with for keeping shtum.

But I have that tapping in my chest that says "these folks are something special, do something about it!"

___

P.S.

I love all of my authors and I love all of their work. I don't think any of them has published a bad book, and I think that they all both can and will get better. And I assume I can help them do so otherwise what's the point of me? If any of you wonderful people are reading this, it's probably for the best that you assume you aren't Bob or Jim, even if you are. Oh, and this post doesn't apply to those of you who were already established authors before you came to me. YKWYA. And, of course, I could be the only one who feels this way about Bob and Jim... but if I didn't have some ability to tell what's good and what's less good, I shouldn't be much good at my job.
 

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Being an editor could be seen as similar to being a parent. Do you share with writers who have a strong grasp of voice resources for them to work on that? Probably not. Just like children, a parent can't treat each child exactly because they have different needs, strengths, and weaknesses. My eldest needs me to prod him along to try anything new; my youngest needs a restraining harness because she'd be the first to jump off the bridge just to see what will happen. Woohooo!!!!! :)

I work in marketing and get new books buying our advertising all the time. Authors that I see trying their absolute hardest to gain traction with readers and still wondering why they can't get anyone interested, I take the time to say, "It's not your writing, it's the packaging you're putting around your writing that readers can't get past." If I see a great book cover but a blurb that is two sentences, I tell the author there is a problem. If I see a great story premise, but the cover is homemade, I let them know. Most of the time, it works out well, but occasionally I get the author that is just "Oh yeah, well you're dumb." and then a month later comes back to say "Yeah, you're right, I tried that out and xyz happened."

The only thing you need to be wary about is if you start contacting places, don't hide or omit that you're the editor. Doing so can put a bad taste in someone's mouth because you are professionally linked with the project.

But anything we can do to help one another get a step ahead brings ALL of us closer to the top. I say talk to the authors that you feel strongly about their writing and would love to help them get it into the hands of readers. :)
 

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It's problematic even just talking about it publicly like this. I get what you're saying, and it's human nature to want to play a part in something great. If I was an editor or book cover designer, I'd want my name on bestsellers, to be associated with something readers will enjoy. Something that'll reap in some accolades. But if I'm a writer who sees an editor he used a year ago talking about current clients that are talented and wondering if he should do more, then I think to myself, why the hell didn't he do more for me? Yeah, logic dictates that there are limits to what an editor should do for the money, it makes sense to everyone who's not involved, but you risk a backlash of resentment from those involved who aren't considered "special". I get this from my clients if I even HINT that I think one of the other clients is good at his job. I'd let this thing go quietly into the abyss.
 

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I'm probably going to regret weighing in here, but this is a touchy subject for me.  We've become SO egalitarian that now it's considered to be in poor taste to be really good at something.  But we are supposed to accept everyone the way they are.  It seems like a contradiction to me.  If the way someone really is is very talented, why is that worse than say dyslexic, or depressed or whatever?  Hot button topic for me.
 
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I'm not sure where the quandary is. If you particularly like a book, there is nothing illegal, immoral, or fattening about saying so.  ;D

We seem to confuse "treating everyone fairly" with "treating everyone the same." You have no obligation to treat everyone in the identical manner. Your obligation is to treat everyone fairly. In that regard, you do your best editing for all of your clients, you respect any confidentiality agreements you have with your clients, and you offer a fair fee to all of your clients. But beyond that, there is nothing unfair about saying "Ye gods, I can't believe how talented Joe is!" You aren't obligated to keep quiet about Joe's talent because Sally is not as good.

 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
You aren't obligated to keep quiet about Joe's talent because Sally is not as good.
Right, there's no obligation, but there's the risk of pissing a current and prospective client off. You know how fragile the author's ego is. Any hint that an editor thinks one isn't as talented as the other, and you risk losing business over it.
 
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vrabinec said:
Right, there's no obligation, but there's the risk of pissing a current and prospective client off. You know how fragile the author's ego is. Any hint that an editor thinks one isn't as talented as the other, and you risk losing business over it.
Well, I have the advantage of being a known Sith, so people don't expect me to coddle them or worry about their feelings. :D
 

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Could you do something behind the scenes, the way I might as a teacher? For instance, if I thought a particular graduate student's paper was amazing and worthy of publication, I'd work with that student one-on-one to strengthen the paper further, maybe contact someone to see if a journal might be interested, walk her through the submission and revision process. I wouldn't talk about it with other students. It wouldn't be a secret, exactly (the student I was helping might talk about it to others), but it wouldn't be public, either.
 

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Becca Mills said:
It wouldn't be a secret, exactly (the student I was helping might talk about it to others), but it wouldn't be public, either.
And if anyone asks about it, lie your ass off.

"How come you didn't take my Grock under your wing like that? How come you're playing favorites?"
"Oh, Mrs. Average, your Grock is a...uh...fine student. He tries hard. But Solomon just showed a lot more interest. I didn't even know Grock was interested in the advanced program."
"Well, he is."
"Ohhh, I'm sorry, Mrs. Average, I can only take one student at a time. Shame."
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
I'm not sure where the quandary is. If you particularly like a book, there is nothing illegal, immoral, or fattening about saying so. ;D

We seem to confuse "treating everyone fairly" with "treating everyone the same." You have no obligation to treat everyone in the identical manner. Your obligation is to treat everyone fairly. In that regard, you do your best editing for all of your clients, you respect any confidentiality agreements you have with your clients, and you offer a fair fee to all of your clients. But beyond that, there is nothing unfair about saying "Ye gods, I can't believe how talented Joe is!" You aren't obligated to keep quiet about Joe's talent because Sally is not as good.
I agree with the Sith lady.
 
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Zachery Richardson said:
Speaking as someone who wound up on the receiving end of a blast of Force Lightning, yeah, always agree with the Sith Lady.
You survived. And no doubt become stronger for it.

And honestly, if you think my Force Lightning is bad, you've never been on the receiving end of Betsy's cattle prod. :eek: :eek:
 

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I have been in the same sort of situation with one of my clients. What I did was provide an introduction to a friend at a publishing house. We are still waiting to see where that leads.
 

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vrabinec said:
And if anyone asks about it, lie your *ss off.

"How come you didn't take my Grock under your wing like that? How come you're playing favorites?"
"Oh, Mrs. Average, your Grock is a...uh...fine student. He tries hard. But Solomon just showed a lot more interest. I didn't even know Grock was interested in the advanced program."
"Well, he is."
"Ohhh, I'm sorry, Mrs. Average, I can only take one student at a time. Shame."
Naw, grad students are grown-ups. You expect them to understand that some students may be doing better work than they are. There are no parents involved ... that would be severely weird!
 

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I used to work in Special Ed. and we had a little saying there.

Fair doesn't mean everybody gets the same. Fair means everybody gets what they need.

As long as everyone is getting what they need, I'd fully expect that how you work with one author is different from how you work with another. Different authors need different things. Additionally, what you do in your business relationship with or for other clients isn't any of my concern, even if I'm a client of yours, too. (Full disclosure: Harry edits my stuff and does a bang up job. I will not speculate on whether or not I'm Bob, Carol, Ted or Alice, though really I can't be because I haven't been with him long enough.)

If you speak well of an author to another person, be that a friend, potential reader, agent, publisher, the Pope, etc., that's really not my business either. If you're not saying those things of me, then my job is to improve my writing to the point where you do.  :) If you facilitate a contact for one of your authors, awesome! Bully for you and your client.

I would never leave an editor because s/he did good things for a client. Someday that could be me.  
 

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Old manager saw: "Praise in public and reprimand in private"
You should tell these two what they talent they have so they can do something with it. It appears they need marketing and to go Indie (or go better Indie) than traditional published so they should be lead that way (you seem to mention traditional route). Then get a deal like Bella Andre, Hugh Howey, and a few others with print-only deals to the trads if their ebooks are successful.
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Don't let them hide under a rock. There are more than a few people on KBs that can offer specific suggestions on selling.
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