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

I Want to Be an Editor. Where Do I Start?

At the past two writers conferences I’ve attended, I’ve been asked a different kind of question. Not, “Will you publish my book?” but “How do I become an editor?” Well, here’s my answer, as told in someecards memes. Because what better way is there to do so?

(P.S. You can also check out these articles about working as an editor: What Do You Do All Day? A Look at the Life of an Editor / The Freelancer Cheat Sheet: Everything You Need to Know About Freelance Writers and Editors)

Complete a degree in a field like English or Creative Writing.

im-an-english-major-my-parents-have-serious-concerns-34b6a 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

A Brief History of Publishing Timelines

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the publishing world moves slowly. Despite our best intentions to be agile and respond to trends in the marketplace, there are just some things you can’t rush. Below is a look at a typical schedule a book goes through from pitch to published.*

*Note that not all books follow this schedule; some can move much faster or much slower, depending on the product.

Manuscript Review: 2-6 weeks. From the time a manuscript hits my inbox to the time I’ve read, responded, and decided to move forward on a title, we’re usually looking at about one month. Sometimes this moves a lot faster, say if I get a submission from an author or agent I’ve worked with in the past or if a pitch is exceptionally intriguing. After I read, I always try to get at least one other opinion on the book from our editorial team to make sure other folks see the potential I do. Continue reading