A client of mine just e-mailed to say that the editor at her publishing house took the humor out of many of her anecdotes–a big part of her voice and what will make her book successful.
The editor also deleted passages that revealed the author’s imperfections and demonstrated personal growth–I assume to be politically correct and not write anything controversial.
These are two unfortunate decisions, in my opinion. First time authors often have little influence with publishers about what gets cut. This holds true for title, cover and other editorial decisions as well. While most publishers will include the author in decision-making, the publisher has final say.
This is one reason I recommend getting a literary agent to represent you. Your agent will have far more influence than you, because:
1) Your literary agent likely has a relationship with the publisher already and the publisher wants to preserve that.
2) Your literary agent has more experience in the industry and the publisher will take them more seriously.
3) A good literary agent is an expert negotiator.
If my client did not have a literary agent, I would have suggested making a strong case for her perspective. In her case, she did have an agent, so I suggested having her literary agent negotiate the issues.
What are you publishing questions or experiences? Share them as a comment and I will respond!