Given the Choice of Opinions, I Choose... (Jody Feldman)


Just the other day, and definitely not for the first time, I was asked a question then a follow-up, both of which march alongside our monthly theme concerning potential confrontation. Here we go!

THE QUESTION: What do you do if an agent or an editor gives you notes you don’t agree with?

Answer: When I received my editorial letter for The Gollywhopper Games, I assumed I’d be expected to make whatever changes the publisher suggested. The opening paragraph of the  letter, however? Totally unexpected. Paraphrasing: This is your book. You have the choice to listen to our suggestions or not.

Without even glancing at what they had to say, I made my choice.
The thing is, these professionals work to make books the best they can be, day after day, season after season. They’ve seen which ones succeed and which, less so. Their experience is so invaluable, I needed to take every single suggestion seriously. That, however, that did not mean I’d go along with all their ideas. Instead, I’d look - and I still look - for the reasons behind their concerns and address them in a way to satisfy us both. So far, it’s worked out.

THE FOLLOW-UP: Have you always done that?
Answer: Nope. Before The Gollywhopper Games was accepted for publication, I got wonderful notes in the form of a revise-and-resubmit from a dream editor of mine. In part, she suggested that I didn’t go deeply enough into the main character’s wounds. Knowing the editor wouldn’t acquire the book unless I did. I had a choice. I thought long and hard... for 14 seconds. 

If I were to dig deeper and darker, The Gollywhopper Games would lose some of the joy at its heart. So, my agent agreed we'd move on. HarperCollins/Greenwillow acquired the book a week later. 

BOTTOM LINE: Given the choice of opinions, I go with my gut. It hasn’t failed me.
At least, not too often.

Given the choice of two new middle grade ideas, award-winning author Jody Feldman has gone with her gut and is working on one that is slightly outside her lane. We’ll see how that goes...


  1. Yes! You always have to address the REASONS behind an editor's concerns.

  2. Opinions are after all opinions. Thanks for the reminder Jody.


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