How to Prepare You (and Your Book) to be Edited

Congratulations. You have written your manuscript (or article) and have found an editor. This is an exciting process as you become closer to having your work in the hands of readers. However, let us keep first things first. Here’s a quick list of how to prepare for this next stage in your writing journey.

Make sure you’ve proofread your writing at least once

Now before you tell me I am contradicting myself, because I warned against being your own editor, hear me out. Before sending your rough draft to any editor make sure you have read it at least once thoroughly and checked for errors. While we can never catch all the mistakes in our writing, there are typos we can correct on our own.

This will show your editor you care about your work more when she or he does not have to correct simple errors they know you could have caught on your own. (And yes, we always know if you have proofread or not.)

Secondly, it may save you money. If you are paying your editor by the hour, not having them correct mistakes you could have done yourself saves them time in editing which for you means more money in your wallet.

Let your editor be your editor

You hired the person to edit your work. Allow them to do their job. A good editor will not only correct your punctuation and grammar, but suggest to you how to make your manuscript read better. She may move around sentences, or take out a complete paragraph that does not add to your piece. He may even help you rework your lede, or recommend you change it altogether.

Remember, your editor is here to make your work read its best. While it is your writing, your editor cares just as much about your piece as you do. It’s also a reflection of them and they are here to help you. It can be tough seeing all the red cross-outs. You may have been attached to a certain line or word in a sentence. However, if it does not make sense to your editor chances are it won’t make sense to your readers. Be flexible during the editorial process and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the end result.

Your editor is not your co-author

While your editor will rewrite a sentence and correct what is wrong or missing, he is not responsible for rewriting chapters, or even portions of chapters of your book. An editor is here to correct your writing, not be the author of it.

Don’t get upset when your editor returns your manuscript with “homework” for you to do. It is their responsibility to correct what is wrong, but it is your obligation to make the changes necessary.

Editing is an art of patience

You did not write your manuscript in a day so be understanding that editing takes time. While you have provided your editor with the “bones” and they are only improving upon the foundation you have already laid, it still takes long hours do.

Have patience with your editor and do not become frustrated when they don’t have your work edited at a snap of a finger. However, if they take too long or lack in communication you may need to address your concerns accordingly.

You have the final say so

Regardless of what an editor may recommend you change or delete, your manuscript will always be yours. If you aren’t happy with a revision they have provided you do not have to keep it. While an editor usually knows what is best for your future publication, it will forever be a product of what you envisioned. Don’t be afraid to tell your editor, “thanks, but no thanks” if you truly desire to keep something the way it is. Yet, I do recommend first discussing this with your editor and perhaps the two of you can work together in producing what suits you two best.


Happy editing!

How to Prepare You (and Your Book) to be Edited

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