How Much Editorial Advice Should I Take From My Editor?

The relationship between freelance editor and indie author must be one of mutual respect and delicate balance.

To produce a work that an author can be proud of while respecting the reader audience, the author must trust their editor to take their work from subpar to excellence. In the same vein, editors have a due diligence to make difficult edits and have hard conversations with their author clients.

Acknowledging the reciprocity of the editor-author relationship, this may cause an indie author to ask the question how much of my editor’s editorial suggestions should I accept? 

The answer depends on whether the author is self-published or traditionally published.



Traditionally published authors work with publishing houses to edit, publish, and market their book. Authors who go this route are subject to the terms of their contract and often paid an advance on the book. Being bound by a contract limits the amount of pushback you can give about what happens to your book in the editing phase. Know that this is not always the case, but is often the case. 

Indie authors, on the other hand, serve as both author and publisher. Therefore, they have a bit more freedom over decisions about what happens to their work. Their editor will outline the expectations of the relationship, but most freelance editors are open to feedback. Expect your freelance editor to give push back if you choose not to accept their suggested changes. These editors are not doing this to be ‘difficult’, but rather, from a place of knowledge and experience of the publishing industry. They want to help you succeed; after all, you are paying good money for it.

Authors’ desire to maintain as much creative control over their work as possible is one of the reasons I hear that causes authors to shy away from traditional publishing. This is yet something else to consider as you journey along your path to authorship.