Your Philosophical Editor

Yes, I do know I haven’t posted any new material since this time last year. And since writing for Read•Play•Edit is my personal creative outlet—and I haven’t been writing for months—you can probably imagine my state of mind and heart.

I still have a lot to say. I have pages and pages of notes.

But the last couple years have been filled with a lot of non–work-related difficulties and distractions (real and imagined) that I’m not going to enumerate but which did definitely slow me down. It’s been like walking through deep water, y’all. I long for the normalcy of blogging. I miss that voice. I miss that me.

• • •

Today I found myself reminding an author (with whom I’m working on a third book and with whom I’ve developed a friendship) about the nature of our working relationship, and it occurs to me that it wouldn’t be a bad thing to repeat it here.

I’ve written a lot about my editorial philosophy. Ninety-five percent of my job is delivering what amounts to “extreme criticism”—and I have to do it in a way that makes the recipient glad to have it. In order for that to happen, I need to employ goodwill, respect, and a businesslike, professional attitude. To achieve that, I’ve learned that relationship is key; it builds intimacy and trust. As we work together as a team, we often create a friendship … and even joy.

But, as I reminded my author this morning, although I definitely consider myself your partner in this good (and often delightful) work we do together, I am always mindful that your publisher is the one who will cut my check. Thus I am the publisher’s eyes and ears as we work through the manuscript. If I am not sure how to answer an author’s question or where to draw a line about content or word usage or gathering permissions or anything at all, I will consult with your acquiring editor. My goal is to protect the publisher’s reputation—to keep them from lawsuits, controversy, and embarrassment. And you know how people are these days; sometimes the most innocent intention can be misinterpreted. I’m careful. :)

• • •

So that’s me, your philosophical editor, walking out of that deep water. I’ll have more to say about writing and editing and reading. I read some great books last year and they saved me. That’s probably where I’ll start.



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  1. Sarah Harvey says:

    WELCOME BACK!!!! This made my day! I love your editorial philosophy–since it is also mine (but better articulated)!

  2. Jamie, you’ve been missed, and you’ve been in my daily prayers. I am so glad to see you again!

  3. Micky Wolf says:

    Great to have you back, Jamie. I relate…been doing my best over the past year to keep my head above water…and slop and slosh my way out in the process.

    Your posts always carry nuggets of wisdom, along with a dollop of humor and a spoonful or two (or more) of inspiration and encouragement.

    Thank you! Looking forward to all that you have to share.

  4. Thrilled to receive this post in my inbox tonight, my friend. Sometimes, we just need to step away for a season and extend the same grace to ourselves that we do to others. xo

  5. Susie Murphy says:

    I’m so pleased that you’re back! Very sorry to hear that you have been through some difficult times but glad to see you returning to this. Looking forward to your posts!

  6. Tiffany Walker says:

    It’s nice to have you back, James!

  7. Well, it’s about time. :>) DELIGHTED to get this in my inbox — and on my birthday, too. Best gift of the day, kiddo. Welcome back.

  8. Deidrah Shutt says:

    Glad you’re back. You’ve been missed. I love reading your insights about editing and all things book.