Why do I have to revise according to an editor's suggestions? My work is written exactly how I want it. How do I know an editor's criticism is valid?

Publish date:

Beginning Writer's Answer Bookedited by Jane Friedman

Writers who are new to the business sometimes consider an editor’s requests for revision a personal affront, when in reality the editor is only trying to get the best possible manuscript for her market. Editors know what works for their audience, and have the experience and expertise necessary to objectively criticize work. If you don’t want to revise your manuscript to the editor’s style or suggestions—and you could be right—you can always withdraw the work, if it comes to that. But there’s a good chance you will never get your work published if you don’t learn to take constructive criticism from editors.

Image placeholder title

Authors who have been in the game a long time and have published dozens of books are typically the most open to revision suggestions. Some beginners find this fact paradoxical, but it isn’t once you consider that seasoned authors have attained a level of professionalism and experience that’s taught them to respect the editor’s eye.

Both magazine and book editors are eager to help you achieve your best efforts. If there are occasional misunderstandings along the way, the writer should not overlook the editor’s essential goodwill toward her work.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.


Gerald Brandt: Toeing the Line Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Science fiction author Gerald Brandt explains how this new series explores the genre boundary and how he came to find his newest book's focus.


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Moment of Doubt

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character experience a moment of doubt.


Caitlin O'Connell: Finding Connection and Community in Animal Rituals

In this post, Dr. Caitlin O'Connell shares what prompted her to write a book about finding connection and community in animal rituals, what surprised her in the writing process, and much more!


New Agent Alert: Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Zeynep Sen of WordLink Literary Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.


Mark Henick: On Memory, Healing, and Languishing Projects

Author Mark Henick shares how he was able to turn a successful TEDx talk into a memoir, even when the project didn't come as quickly as he expected.