One of my writing loops, which has both aspiring and published authors, had a recent thread about editing. Some of the writers had lamented that words and sentences had been added by their editor and they were appalled. I suppose I would be, too, if there was no reason for the change. One of the common themes I’ve heard from those who plan to self-publish is that they don’t want an editor to mess with their book.
To me, a good editor doesn’t mess with the story. They make the story as strong as it can be. I’m working on my 23rd book right now. I wrote it. My editor sent me five pages of notes. Already, as I’m revision, I see that her notes are right on–she identified the weak parts in the story and I’m fixing them. She’s not telling me specifically what to do, but showing me where I went wrong, or areas that are good, but could be better.
I’ve heard horror stories from published authors where they battled with their editor repeatedly. I’ve heard about authors who had an editor line edit a book to death, to the point that it didn’t sound like the author. I’ve heard about authors who have been given directives–not suggestions–and, in fact, I had one such directive in one of my Random House books which, to this day, I regret and resent. The directive did not make the book stronger, it was a marketing decision that resulted in the only book of mine to never hit the New York Times list.