Is it important to like my editor?
Updated: Sep 15
You don't have to be best friends with your editor. But liking them as a person is important.
Hiring an editor for a swift proofread is slightly different, they are going to turn over some pretty objective comments. But your relationship with your copyeditor and your development editor is important for the good of your book and your mind.
You already have a deep relationship with your book. When you hire an editor, you're hiring someone to build a similar relationship with both your book and you. This is a professional relationship, but its a relationship all the same.
Your developmental editor should get excited about your characters, your plot, and your writing. But it is part of their job to be critical of what they think doesn't work.
Without a level of personal respect, it is hard to develop a professional respect for their opinions. Without that professional respect, their opinions have the potential to damage your confidence.
If your editor is incapable of posing constructive criticism in a respectful and helpful way, they're a bad editor. Simple as. Even if, objectively, the fact that you have introduced a blue and purple talking zebra does not work in your realist novel about politics and art, if they can't convey that criticism respectfully then they've not fulfilled a key part of their job.
Developmental edits are discussions between you and your editor. They aren't hard and fast "Listen, writer, this doesn't work, change it or fail."
They are also not the you as an author plugging your ears being and being unwilling to budge.
Developmental editing is about discussing what tweaks can be made to convey the meaning you are working to bring to each sentence, each scene, each chapter.
When you like your editor, these discussions can be as high energy and insightful for both parties as a writers workshop. Only your work is the central focus 100% of the time.