When working with a client, I’m looking to create a collaboration, a joint effort, a partnership.
In short, I want to work with you, rather than for you.
This, of course, implies a level of trust, and I know that doesn’t come easily, especially if you’ve ever had a bad experience with another editor—or even no experience at all.
One simple way to build trust in your editor is to get an idea of their previous work experience, whether through their resume, references, or a list of other projects they’ve worked on. Do they turn in their work on time? Are they experienced in your project’s genre? Do they have a positive attitude? When you are able to verify that they know what they’re doing—and that people have good things to say about them—it can help calm your fears.
To build trust with your editor, be honest. From the beginning, you should let the editor know your timeline, your budget, your overall goal, and how hard you’re willing to work. Those should match the editor’s schedule, billing requirements, and skillset. The better the match, the better the outcome.
Finally, you can build trust between you and your editor by asking questions. I thrive when a client is eager to discuss ideas, put serious time into revisions, and/or ask about the changes I’m suggesting. All of those things show me how excited the client is, which in turn makes me excited!
Starting any new relationship can be scary, but working with a good editor should lift you up, make you believe in your work, and ultimately help you tackle the project at hand with confidence.