50 Ways

Below are 50 tips for how to have a good relationship with your editor. The first 20 tips were presented by Sue Kay in her '50 ways not to turn your editor grey' session at the MaWSIG PCE day at IATEFL 2016.

  1. Know your shortcuts.
  2. ​Know the difference between a hyphen and an en dash.​
  3. Know how to create a shortcut.
  4. Know how to use Jing (or similar).
  5. Use split screen to create a key.
  6. Find out how your editor likes to communicate - email? phone? Skype? face-to-face?
  7. Set your webcam at a flattering angle.
  8. Be honest. If you're struggling with a deadline, let your editor know. Don't make excuses.
  9. Agree a method of filesharing.
  10. Choose a good system for file naming.
  11. Keep your editor in the loop.
  12. Acknowledge receipt of documents and emails, and make sure the editor does the same.
  13. Respond appropriately to feedback.
  14. Trust your editor.
  15. Try not to pester your editor.
  16. Use minimal formatting.
  17. Bookmark texts in Evernote.
  18. Know your idiosyncrasies.
  19. Be informed about what's going on in ELT.
  20. Don't write negative things about someone in an email.
  21. Use the mute button on a Skype call or conference call when you're not talking - especially if you're working in a noisy office.
  22. When you're travelling, make sure you have all the necssary adaptors so you can keep in touch with your editor.
  23. If you're working from home, make sure you have reliable broadband. Everyone occasionally has techie problems, but make sure you have backup.
  24. Be familiar with your publisher's terminology and acronyms (VLE, LMS, ftp, etc)
  25. Insert page numbers.
  26. Build up a good library or writer resources (EVP, CEFR, etc)
  27. If you want to have easy access to certain documents, edit your list of recently-used files by using the Pin to list function.
  28. Download the MaWSIG eBook (if you're a MaWSIG member - otherwise read the MaWSIG blog each month).
  29. Ask your editor for a Word template and learn to use the styles.
  30. Ask your editor for a style sheet. This should cover wording for rubrics, use of examples, etc.
  31. Find out whether the publisher has a list of approved resources that you can use for authentic source material.
  32. Ask your editor for a list of photo libraries approved for use if you need to source photos before you write some of the material.
  33. Don't over- or under-write.
  34. Find out if there are word count guidelines for texts and follow them.
  35. Find out how to supply the answer key, art brief, audio scripts, etc. Should they be included in the main document or separated out?
  36. Don't use automatic numbering.
  37. If you're writing for digital directly into a template, back up your material in a Word document in case the platform crashes.
  38. In your audio scripts add information for your editor about the characters, eg age, gender, attitude.
  39. Follow the brief and query anything that isn't clear.
  40. Send in completed work - don't expect the editor to finish your exercises!
  41. Read widely to maximise your chances of sourcing interesting material.
  42. Writers usually work for a number of different publishers. Some publishers have clear identities and they expect their writers to create material that is congruent with that identity. So find out what that means for materials writing.
  43. Ask your editor to flag positive points about your work as well as the areas that need changing.
  44. Recognise your editor's contribution to your work - for example thank her in the acknowledgements (if allowed) or offer to write a recommendation on LinkedIn.
  45. Remember that an editor is for a project - not for life! It can be unsettling if an editor you have a fantastic relationship with leaves.Try to be welcoming to a new editor. It's not her fault the other one left.
  46. Build a good rapport with your editor. Remember to ask her about herself. An editor is a human being - not a human spellchecker.
  47. Recognise the limits of your remit. You probably won't be consulted about cover design or title, so try to be as positive about these decisions as possible. Don't give your editor a hard time.
  48. Check your work before you send it in. It undermines an editor's trust in you if you hand in work full of typos.
  49. Do your research and double-check your facts.
  50. And finally, invest in the T2W eBooks - they will help you write great material which at the end of the day is what the editor values most.