Why your publisher won’t edit your manuscript — and what to do about it

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I’ve now written or edited more than 25 books published by traditional or hybrid publishers. I know what your publisher is looking for, and what they will and won’t do for you. So it’s time for some straight talk about that. Publishers in 2021 won’t generally edit your book. They are looking for a publishable … Continued

Why is it taking so long to edit your book?

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The duration of your editing process depends far more on you than it does on your editor. I recently told a friend of mine that I was working on editing two 70,000-word books right now. “How long does that take?” she asked. I didn’t have a simple answer, and that got me thinking. I’ve edited … Continued

Contributed op-ed case study (4): Editing and revision

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Writing an opinion piece is rarely the end of the process. The editors of your target publication are likely to request revisions. An effective writer budgets time for those revisions and maintains effort and creativity through the revision cycle. Responding to edits In the last three posts, I explained how I pitched, researched, and wrote … Continued

Don’t crowdsource editing (but you can crowdsource these other things)

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Last week, two different authors told me they were sending chapters to a bunch of their friends to get feedback. One planned to send it to 40 people. This is terrible way to edit. Consider what happens when you crowdsource an edit Anyone who’s ever read a Wikipedia article has seen the incoherent and personality-free … Continued

Are editors failed writers?

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Robert Giroux, who eventually became T.S. Eliot’s editor, once asked Eliot if he agreed with the sentiment that most editors are failed writers. Eliot’s reply: “Perhaps, but so are most writers.” Putting the witticism aside, what are editors? Failed writers? Uber-writers? Or something different? I’ve been writing professionally for 38 years and editing for almost … Continued

How authors can work with a developmental editor

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A developmental editor can help make your book better. They also cost money — and spending that money wisely demands some preparation. Here are a few tips on getting the most out of a developmental editor. Choose the right kind of editor The job of the (nonfiction) editor is to stand in for your eventual … Continued

Why every edit I do is a “close read”

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Sometimes people request that I do a “light edit” on their document, book chapter, or book. “Just give it a read and let me know what it needs,” they say. I can’t actually do that. I only know how to do a close read. How I do a developmental edit There is a switch in … Continued

For editors, it pays to specialize

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There are a million editors out there. If you aspire to make a living as one, you can’t just be “an editor” — because only those who specialize will be paid what they’re worth. (Author’s note — I’ll now resume posting mostly about writing, editing, and books. Thanks for your tolerance of my political posts … Continued