I leave in the morning for a conference, so I'm harried, but one of you wrote in that the terms "severely edited" and "heavily negotiated" scared the bone marrow out of you.
As an update, I have not closed on a single one of those aforementioned titles, although phone calls have been placed back and forth. I don't list sales on Publisher's Marketplace until they are done. It's both bad luck and bad form.
Of the 14 titles I'm juggling offers on, 13 are nonfiction. The author/editor meetings were with celebrity clients (publicity always wants to see what they are really like), an expert who is on the verge of getting her own spot on a talk show, and another expert who is trying to brand herself. These are not the kind of author/editor meetings most of you will be dealing with.
For first novels, an editor only meets with an author when they've purchased the book and they think they'll be working with the author again.