The Editing Process As Told By Pro Editors

In honour of National Novel Writing Month, commonly referred to as NaNoWriMo, it is best to give authors the advantage and advice they should receive before they jump into writing a novel this month. Since they will be hard-pressed to find the time to do the research on what it takes to get your work published and sold if they believe in their work that much by the end of the month. If an author is so proud at the end of the month and wants to publish their work, they should take the step further and consider hiring an editor.

In the novel writing profession, the editor is a crucial part of the publishing process. The editor ensures that the book flows smoothly. They help the author make sure all holes are filled, the plot is seamless, characters are understandable and the syntax is clear. Yet, they do not receive the attention they deserve. Therefore, it is best to lay out the benefits of hiring an editor for a new book.


The Editor’s Process

So exactly what does a book editor do? According to The Balance, the editor has a few key steps in their process. After submission, the editor goes into what is referred to as the “developmental edit.”In that stage, the editor comments on what is missing and what can be improved upon. After the author revises the manuscript and the second manuscript is submitted, the editor line-edits, or copy edits, the work. After the author perfects the final draft of the manuscript, the editor than approves the work.

Additionally, according to blogger and self-published author Joanna Penn, hiring an editor can be a phenomenal asset to the author. From her own experience, a good editor—in her case Steve Parolini—gave positive feedback before the criticism. For her first novel, the criticism involved “big picture issues, plot, dialogue, redundancy, setting and characters.” From there, she drafted different scenes and compared them to the original manuscripts. She advises new authors to “budget for an editor, but make sure it’s a good one!”


What New Authors Need to Know

Author, blogger and editor Brian Klems gave new authors some advice on dealing with freelance editors. As someone who has had experience on both ends, he suggests that an author reread their manuscript before submitting it to an author. It is better to make all of the necessary corrections and edits before bringing in a fresh pair of eyes. He also suggests authors take heed to the editor’s notes. In his words, he advises to “discuss other ideas” if an author “disagrees” with the feedback. Most notably, he emphasizes the fact that the editor’s job to make the author’s book “the best it can be”—in the sense that the author’s intent with the book is accomplished and conveyed properly.

The Novel Doctor, and editor for Penn’s first novel, Steve Parolini gave advice to up-and-coming authors for their novels. Similarly to Klems, authors have to walk away from their projects before editing it. Then, the author will give him or herself a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective on their work. He also advises to take it a step further and print out the work, aiding in the new perspective. The most important process in creating an author’s second draft, however, is to dig deeply into the bulk of the work.

He suggests that writers should “listen” to their characters and “kill any figurative pets.” It is best to take note of any and all inconsistencies with the characters and make sure that their motives and actions are revealed when they are supposed to be. State as a personal pet peeve, he warns authors “Stop telling [your reader] a character’s thoughts about what he’s going to do just before you reveal the same thing through his actions.” Above all else, the author should be honest with their work and critique it without being harsh on him or herself.

Getting Your Work Published

When an author gets the approval from their editor to publish, they can do one of two things: 1) send their final manuscript to a publisher or 2) self-publish. Self-publishing can be tricky, given that an author risks less pay and potential to write books of lesser quality. Former Thomas Nelson Publishers CEO and author Michael Hyatt gave his list of suggestions every new author should follow before publishing their work. The most important step should be the homework. He suggests that an author should know the market before trying to pitch their ideas and manuscripts to publishers.

That includes reading articles about the novel market and following publishing blogs. If possible, save space in your budget for an agent. If an author is considering traditional publishing, it is best to have an agent, as to be taken more seriously. If nothing else, self-publishing is an option. However, his most critical piece of advice to keep the faith.

These tips should be useful for new authors looking for clues to either find helpful editors or simply improve their writing. It is advised for new authors to take these tips to heart and into their writing. Also, if and when looking for editors, it is best for writers to conduct their research, plan and budget accordingly.

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