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 We're Jeni Chappelle and Melissa Koberlein. We're on a mission to explore the world of publishing with some amazing women.

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Indie Chicks Season 3 podcast for websit

EPISODE 1, Season 4 - Welcome Back!

In episode 1 of the newest season, Jeni and Melissa talk about the editor-author relationship.

To watch the video, click the image below:

Or listen to the audio podcast here: EPISODE 1- The Editor-Author Relationship

Welcome to the new season of the Indie Chicks show! I’m Melissa Koberlein, an author and professor of publishing and she’s Jeni Chappelle, a freelance novel editor.

Indie Chicks celebrates and supports independent women in publishing. We’re a place for writers at all stages of the publishing process. So, whether you’re on the traditional route to publication or self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place for advice.

On our season 4 premiere episode:

We’re talking about the author editor relationship

End with an author tip of the week

Here's the Q&A

Melissa: Jeni, who’s your favorite client? Just kidding. But, seriously, do you like working with repeat clients or prefer the excitement of a new client? How do you build rapport with your clients?

Jeni: It’s always fun to work with a new client. It’s kind of like dating--it’s exciting getting to know someone new and learn about them and their writing. But there’s a deeper satisfaction that comes from a longer relationship with a client. Once I know an author a little better, I can help them identify areas that need work across stories that might signal an opportunity for the author to improve their writing as a whole, and that makes my work more meaningful as well. In terms of building rapport, I always feel like it’s my responsibility to establish what the relationship will be like so I try to be open and offer a lot of chances for an author to ask questions. I want writers to feel comfortable talking with me about their manuscripts because editing is really a collaborative process, and I know there is a person on the other side of this manuscript--it’s not just words on a page to me.

Jeni: So Melissa, what are your likes and dislikes about your current editor? Bwahahahaha! JK How do you determine whether an editor is someone you want to work with? What are the factors that help you decide?

Melissa: I love my current editor! Haha. So, I’ve had a few editors. For me, selecting an editor is about making sure our personalities work together and the actual edit is what I was expecting. So, I strongly recommend new writers go through an editing sample with an editor before committing to an editor for a complete manuscript.

Something else that’s important to me is that I can trust my editor. It’s important to look at other books they’ve edited, talk to some of their clients, etc. Then, once you’ve entered into the author-editor relationship, know that your editor has your best interests at heart. Their name will be attached to your manuscript too. They want both you and your manuscript to succeed.

Melissa: What’s the most important piece of advice you can offer new writers looking to work with an editor?

Jeni: Think of working with an editor like any other professional relationship and treat it that way from the beginning. If you have a problem that you need professional help for--whether that’s a plumber, a lawyer, or a computer repair person--you have an idea of how to approach that relationship. It’s not that much different with an editor. If you’re looking for an editor, the best place to start is asking other writers for recommendations. Then do some research on the names you get. Look at their testimonials, the books they’ve worked on, and the services they offer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to a potential editor, and that includes asking for sample edits or feedback on an excerpt (it’s not a red flag if an editor asks for a small fee for editing a sample; this is a common practice). Ultimately, it comes down to what Melissa said: you want an editor you can trust.

Jeni: What have you found is the hardest part of working with an editor, and how can you make it a little easier?

Melissa: I’m a people pleaser. It’s really important to me that my editor has a pleasant read. So, the hardest part for me is that I am constantly worrying about sending a trash fire. Even though I work through multiple drafts of my novels, utilize beta readers, and my critique partner, I still worry about my manuscript when I hand it over. Whenever Jeni gives back my manuscript with edits, I typically take notes of my biggest copy editing mistakes and work hard to fix those in the drafting phase. Then, in future manuscripts, I won’t make the same mistakes. One great example is my comma problem. But Jeni has been wonderful about working on it with me. :)

Tip of the week: It’s never too early to start your author website. Even if you haven’t completed your novel, you can still get a head start on building an audience.

On our next podcast, Jeni and Melissa are talking with author, Justine Manzano about dusting off an old story idea. We will also have another Tip of the Week.

And don’t forget where to find us! Find our podcast at or follow us on Spotify or subscribe to Indie Chicks on Apple Podcasts. We also have the Indie Chicks channel on YouTube where you can subscribe. You can follow us on Twitter @Indie_Chicks or

So, remember, we’re all part of a publishing community, be kind and review your fellow authors’ books! Thanks for joining us!

Indie Chicks out.

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