Follow the Old Editor, Live With the New By Rose R. Kennedy

It’s been almost eight years, and I can still feel the gut wrench. Up to that day, I’d been contributing tens of thousands of words to a prominent how-to publisher’s books, all at a handsome per word rate, for an editor I’d met only by phone but adored.

Now, the voice on the other end of the line was telling me she would be in charge. This Ms. LB would give me a small sample assignment at the usual per word rate, but no promises.

I flushed with anger at her words, pride and pocketbook both suffering. Somehow I choked out a polite response. I wrote the miniscule sample and waited some months for another meager word count to issue forth. By the end of that publishing cycle, I’d written only a third of what I was used to. Still, I scored two meaty chapters in the next book, and by the third was asked to add to another contributor’s chapter, and even write a portion of the book’s introduction. I came to like Ms. LB so much that in retrospect I could even agree with her decision to give me a trial period.

But that’s nowhere near the end of the story. A couple of years ago, Ms. LB took a new job at a small publisher and hired me to write a book. Just as we finished the edits, she let me know she’d be leaving the company. Worse yet, my new editor said they were postponing publication for 18 months!

But you know what? It did get printed and the publishers have treated me well, even garnering a mention for the book in the Los Angeles Times health section. And though I can’t assume every new editor will be the caliber of Ms. LB, I do know for sure that each time someone who likes my work moves to a new job, there will be new opportunities for me.

Rose R. Kennedy is a food and how-to writer and editor based in Knoxville, Tennessee. She is the author of Family Fitness Fun (Hatherleigh Press, 2005). See: