You finally finished the first draft of your book! That’s a serious cause for celebration as far as I’m concerned. It’s unfortunate how many of us have amazing book ideas and don’t actually write it for one reason or another. But you did it! You found an editor that you like and have some level of professional trust in them – I hope. If you’re still looking for a book editor, this post will let you know what questions to ask before hiring one.
So your editor checks out. You send the book to be edited and wait for their feedback. Now what? This is a critical point for any writer that’s passionate about what they’ve written. There’s a lot of room for both you and the editor to drop the ball here. Please don’t let it be you. Here are your do’s and don’ts.
DO LET THE EDITOR WORK
This is my attempt at nicely telling you to be patient. Sending messages to the editor to “check in” isn’t going to speed up the process. If your editor is nice enough to respond, their progress will be slowed down to converse with you. I know you want to believe that your book is the only thing that the editor has to do but believe me it’s not. So if they gave a specific time frame for the work to be done (and they should’ve), then let them work so they can honor that time frame.
DO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR EMAILS
…or whatever your method of communication is with your editor. As they go through your manuscript questions might arise and you need to answer them ASAP to help them do their job to satisfaction. If you don’t respond timely there is a great possibility that you’ll receive your book back with incomplete editing. Ongoing communication is something that I address in the contract for every project that I work.
DO PREPARE TO BE HURT
If you’re having your first book edited then you’ll see what I mean shortly. You’ve spent all kinds of time working on your book I assume. Days, weeks and possibly years making sure it was perfect. It’s very close to your heart and you know it’s destined to be a bestseller. I’ll let you know right now that when you get your manuscript back from the editor, it’s very possible that you’re going to feel like your insides have been ripped out. I’ve never experienced heartbreak but I imagine that going through a first round of book edits feels something like it. Try to keep in the forefront of your mind that the editor isn’t out to kill your spirit. Their job is to get your book ready for publishing so focus on what tips they give that’ll help with your writing in the future.
DON’T EDIT YOUR OWN BOOK
Not after you’ve already submitted it to the editor. Imagine being hard at work doctoring a book up for your client and getting this email:
Hey there editor of mine
who I think is on call for me 24/7
I know you’re already working on the edits for “The Best Book Ever,” but I was reading through it again and noticed a typo on page 72, paragraph 3. I meant to say “chill” not “chip.” I’m just letting you know because I don’t trust you enough to figure out the typo on your own.
Be a sweetie and add that to your list of edits. Thanks!
You might not say the words that have the strike-through but that’s how your editor might read it. Remember the first “do”? Scroll up and read it again.
The relationship between you and your editor should be very straightforward. Ask questions before the work begins so that you know what to expect.
Have you ever had a book edited before? Are you working on a book now? I’d be thrilled to hear about it! Let me know in the comments.