Dear authors,

It is with sharpened Ticonderoga and rounded Pink Pet that I sit down to write the first in this series of letters from the editor. I’ve been brewing on this for a while and the time has come to talk about telling the truth, even when it’s a barrel full of lies.

Whether you’re writing novels or nonfiction, your work as an author is to convince people to believe you. My job as an editor is to have your back. This takes different forms: line editing, copyediting, and proofreading (working with language); critique, story editing, developmental editing, and whatever else you want to call it (working with content).

If you’re writing nonfiction, people will be more inclined to believe you if you’ve got your facts straight and your structure reflects logical thinking. If you’re writing fiction, we’ll believe you if your details are right and your insights ring true. No matter what you’re writing, your readers want to hear a clear voice and see a clean page. If you can’t nail those basics, you’ll lose us.

Here, then, is where I’ll file my notes on how to get readers to believe you. They’ll be short or too long, as moody as a reader should be (because if you’re not making us feel, you’re failing — and if you’re not making us feel the right thing, you’re failing, too), and probably pretty erratically scheduled. But here they’ll be, and I hope they’re helpful.

Until next time,