How Editors Think

Today, I’m sharing this absolutely delightful clip of Ariel Richardson and Melissa Manlove (editors at Chronicle Books) talking about how editors think. I mean, we all know that taste is subjective, and each editor is an individual, but there are things that most of them have in common. When I took Submission Ready from Ariel and Melissa earlier this year, the things they had in common surprised me.

Submission Response Times

While I loved listening to Ariel and Melissa talk about Dear Genius and Ursula Nordstrom, what they had to say about submission response times really grabbed my attention. Melissa said that one or two months was a normal response time for an agented manuscript. Ariel suggested that sometimes she connects with a manuscript but doesn’t have a vision for how to make it work. Sometimes, she needs time to figure it out before she commits. And Melissa agreed that sometimes she needs some creative space to get insight into what a manuscript needs.

So, be patient with editors.

Needing time and trial and error for creative insight to make a project awesome is something we ALL can relate to. Am I right? For me, it’s actually reassuring that we have that in common.

Melissa suggested that “when you are waiting to hear from one person, you should be writing something else because, sometimes, the first book you get accepted is the second or third book that gets published . . . because things happen.” I know this has been true for some of my friends. There have also been instances where three books, written years apart, have released with different publishers in the same year.

All this doesn’t that mean you can’t have a preference for editors with more reasonable response times. I personally think that anything longer than nine months is excessively long, but three or four months doesn’t faze me anymore. In publishing, that’s pretty normal.

The only part of the process that I have control over is my part, so I’m just going to keep working on my craft and making stories.

Thanks for reading!

Blog Contributors

Myrna Foster writes and edits content for Storyteller Academy and the WriteRiders Newsletter for SCBWI Nevada. She has spent a lot of time teaching and coaching children, including five years as a preschool teacher. She's also worked as a journalist, and Highlights High Five has published six of her poems. 

Arree Chung is an author/illustrator and the founder of Storyteller Academy. Arree’s Ninja! series has received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal. Kirkus also gave a starred review to Mixed, which recently won the FCGB award. 

Today Arree lives a creative life, making stories for children. Arree spends most of his time making picture books, writing middle grade novels, and sharing his love for art, design, and storytelling with kids and dreamers everywhere.

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