Dear Trying to Tread Carefully…
Tell her. Communication has a better chance of preventing future tension. Imagine the awkwardness you’d have explaining the book suddenly popping up on another house’s list? She did take time and care to make revision suggestions, so thank her for sharing her ideas, then tell her you’re not ready to break away from your original vision yet and want to try the project elsewhere before you try changing it. Editors understand that happens. And she’s likely aware that you two aren’t connecting on this one, in which case she won’t be shocked. Be sure to include that you look forward to working with her on your other projects and, who knows, maybe this one, too. Editors know authors publish with many houses and she’s acknowledged that the project isn’t working for her yet, so the air should stay clear.
Love your excellent (and reassuring) advice! It meshes with my policy to always come clean with people I deal with.
In general I it’s better to have the tricky conversations up front than let them fester or risk having them become even more problematic.
Thanks for the great tips, Deborah! It’s always good to know how to tread these tricky waters in a professional, yet respectful and courteous way.
Glad to give ideas, Natasha.