Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Customer Is Always "Write"

There's an old saying in the retail trade, "the customer is always right."

Mrs. Smith brings back an obviously used item and demands a refund saying she's changed her mind and purchased another brand elsewhere. She's been a good customer for years so the shop owner swallows hard, pastes on a smile, and "cheerfully" hands over the money.

I couldn't help thinking of those words this week as I struggled to please a particularly picky editor.

Most of the time, an extra set of eagle eyes spots mistakes I wish I'd caught myself. I appreciate the opportunity to polish my work before it's published so readers see only my very best work.

Most of the time.

"The customer is always right," I reminded myself as I agonized over the requested revisions. "The customer is always right," I repeated as I gave the piece a final proof before hitting "send."

The editor returned the piece with another full set of requested changes. I couldn't manage to paste on a smile as I grumbled "the customer is always right" over and over again. Finally, I finished and sent it off confidently believing it would prove satisfactory.

No such luck. It bounced back in record time with still another litany of changes.

Not even bothering to repeat the sacred mantra, I somehow managed to force myself through the motions and sent it off for the third time. Luckily, the third time was the charm.

I'm not sure the finished product was superior to what I initially submitted. There's not a shadow of a doubt that the payment won't begin to cover all that extra time and effort.

Maybe, just maybe, I learned something from the agonizing process. Ultimately, the customer (editor) IS always right.

Taking the time to satisfy that customer instead of giving up and sacrificing the sale may well be what separates wannabe writers from published authors.

May the Muse be kind!!

Susanne Rose
Lucki In Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette
"The Christmas Promise," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette
Keep the spirit of the holidays going strong and take advantage of this bonus offer: Just send an e-mail to the author: with “The Christmas Promise” in the Subject Line. You’ll have to read the story first so you can identify the secret recipe when you send your e-mail. Santa will send you a copy of the secret recipe. "Forever Love," a Wild Rose Press Champagne Rosette

"Adjusting Entries," coming soon in:


Adelle Laudan said...

LOL Gotta luv the editing process. It sure makes one stronger at the end of it.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Hi Susanne, sorry to hear about the edits. It's always tricky, I think, because often by then a writer is into the next story and breaking off from that can be hard.

Good luck!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Sounds like you have the editor from hell. One of my books had an editor like that. The book ended up stronger because of the changes but after all of that I didn't like the book as much as my others. It didn't feel like it was mine anymore. I learned a big lesson from that editor. I try to make sure I communicate what I want the first time around. I hate anyone else mucking extensively with my scenes. I don't mind a tweak here and there because improvements are welcome. But enough is enough!

Susanne said...

Adelle, Lindsay, and Maggie -

Thanks for taking time to comment.

"Helpful" editors (luckily haven't encountered many) fix what isn't broken. One of those "angels" changed "peace of mind" to "piece of mind" when the former was correct in the context of my story!

Editors can and SHOULD be a writer's best friends. Most of the time, they are!


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