One Your editor knows the market better than you do

This is a tough nut for most writers to swallow and if you aren't careful, can become a point of friction between you and your editor. If you editor says, "The ending is too downbeat to do well in the American market; we need to think about ways you can give it a more upbeat ending," for example, you can take one of two tacks. The first is to say, "Look, I'm the writer, and this is the way I envisioned the story, and I don't care how the American market prefers upbeat endings. I claim artistic license, dammit; I don't want to change so much as a comma, much less rethink the ending." This may get you some points among your peers as the Artist with Integrity and Vision, but your editor is going to be justified in labelling you a Pain-in-the-Ass Artiste, and at this point in your career, your buddies at the cafe

Holly Lisle aren't going to be putting money in your pocket, and your editor is. The second way you can approach the situation is to say, "Okay, I can see how that ending might be a little dark. Do you have any recommendations for giving it a more upbeat feel without gutting the whole meaning of the book?" Then you listen to her ideas, and come up with a few of your own, and sit down at the computer and rework the ending in the manner that feels best to you. And you send it off, content in the knowledge that you have made your book as marketable as you can.

And I do hate to sound like the Commercial Sell-Out from Hell here, but if you don't work to make your book as marketable as you can, you can kiss any hope of a full-time writing career goodbye. Publishers - all publishers - publish books in order to make money. If you aren't willing to help your publisher out by writing books he can hope to sell, he will simply stop buying books from you. Put your heart into your stories, and your soul, and the best of what you have to offer. Then be willing to reshape your stories to make them better, more marketable, more accessible. Keep the heart and the soul in there - don't get cynical, however easy it may be to get cynical. But keep your eye on the sales figures and the bottom line, too.

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