How to be a publisher’s dream author

Laura Laffoon, an editorial assistant for a Big Six publishing company, wrote an article recently listing the most important lessons she learned in her first year.

Here’s the first lesson she listed:

1. Not all authors are created equally. 

So, what does an editorial assistant do to be able to learn that lesson?

According to, an editorial assistant’s responsibilities “might include reading and evaluating unsolicited manuscripts, logging, trafficking and maintaining files on in-coming manuscripts through all stages of publication; attending editorial meetings and performing editorially-related administrative tasks.”

Perhaps it’s in these editorial meetings that the assistant hears about the joys and trials of editors and their dealings with authors. Maybe she also has personal interactions with authors and gets to know them well.

However she got the impressions, here is how Laffoon describes “the dream author”:

  1. Someone who is ecstatic about seeing their darling manuscript being published.
  2. They respond to emails and phone calls quickly.
  3. They love all the cover comps you show them.
  4. They not only meet their deadlines, they beat them.

Then she adds, “But unfortunately, this is not the norm. Appreciate them if you DO get this type of author. They are wonderful. Send them cookies.”

Her list doesn’t seem to be that difficult to achieve. Yet she says authors who behave this way are not the norm. Does respect and decency go out the window once a writer signs the contract?

No. Let’s be the type of writers who get the cookies.

You can read the full article here at Though the article and the webrsite are targeted at young publishing professionals, it also gives writers a good look at the publishing world.

What do you think about this list of dream author characteristics?


4 thoughts on “How to be a publisher’s dream author

  1. Interesting. I can’t imagine how a new author wouldn’t do any of those things! I consider all of those acts as acts of common courtesy and nothing out of the ordinary at all. I guess that’s good news for me. I’d most definitely be a dream author. 🙂


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