10 Ways Being an Editor Is Like Being a Doctor

My sister-in-law actually is a doctor, and she would probably say an editor isn’t like a doctor at all. Technically, she’d be right. (And thank goodness—no one wants me giving out medical advice.)

Not-so-technically, here are 10 ways being an editor is like being a doctor.

1. An editor’s submission inbox is a waiting room. It’s packed with people (manuscripts), and sometimes it can take a while to get in to see us. Many editors take between 4 and 8 weeks minimum to review a submission, so you may want to get comfortable. (But hey, you know we’ve got a ton of great reading material out in the waiting room to keep you busy.) Continue reading

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… an Edit Letter

When a book gets acquired, it goes through several rounds of editing. This process goes beyond proofreading and copyediting—an acquisitions editor will go through the entire manuscript and look at plot, character development, pacing, and all kinds of other big-picture elements. This is called a developmental edit or a macro edit, depending on the publisher. And when the acquisitions editor is done, the author gets an edit(orial) letter.

Edit letters can be scary! Authors get a document telling them all things they need to do make their book better after spending months—maybe even years—writing and editing and polishing a manuscript. Yikes!

Now, I can’t speak to how each individual editor creates their edit letter since everyone edits differently and every book needs a different kind of attention. Some edit letters are three pages long, some are twenty-three. Some letters focus on a particular subject (like voice or plot line), some talk about lots of different issues. But for me, there are five key pieces to this kind of letter: Continue reading

FAQ: The Editing Process

Your book has been acquired—hooray! Next comes weeks and weeks of shaping and editing the novel as you work with your editor. No matter what the manuscript looks like at the time of acquisition, this process is essential to the book publishing cycle (and it’s the reason I have a job!). Check out the answers to frequently asked questions about editing below.

1. How long does the editing process take? This varies from book to book. On average, I try to schedule a minimum six months of editing time, which includes my macro edits as well as copyedits and proofreads.  Continue reading