Editing overview

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Understanding what editing your book means …


One of the hardest things about writing a book is deciding when to stop tinkering and making changes yourself. You have a good day’s creative thought and go to bed satisfied you’ve done some really good work. Then you wake up next morning, grab a coffee and think to yourself that you’ll just read through what you wrote yesterday … and you want to change this bit and that and before you know it what you wrote before is unrecognizable and the next day around you go again. This is the dilemma of being too close to what you’re writing.

You will really know your characters in a novel or subject in a non-fiction book and because you understand what’s happening you can easily assume, perhaps incorrectly, that all your readers do. You may become too wrapped in one character that you miss an opportunity to amend something about another and give a whole new twist to your plot. Spotting these things is the role of the independent editor.

You have written you novel to entertain, your memoir or non-fiction book to inspire or inform, but the editor is not looking for any of those things, they are thinking about does it all hang together properly and, most importantly, how the book will fair once it’s out in the open market. The other key thing about a good editor is that he does not care about your feelings!

The editor of your book has to be totally detached from trying to please you by being nice about your book. Of course they will say they liked this section or that one, but often it’s to compare them with things that are not quite right or aren’t working so well. It could well be that the editor will pull your book apart and then make suggestions for rebuilding it in a very different way.

Of course you’re not going to like that … at first. What you need to do after getting your first comments back is read them and then put them away if you don’t agree and then come back to them again later; it’s highly likely you will agree with everything and will now only see merit in what the editor has suggested.

As well as spotting that you have used the same word in almost all your character descriptions or your sentences are over long in your dialogue are therefore unrealistic; they look at the overall plot and pace. In a non-fiction book or memoir, they can see that too long has been spent on one topic or era and not enough on others.

There are of course manuscripts that require the kind of work we’ve described here and there are of course those that need something much less rigorous. There are in fact three types and we explain these on the Editing options page in terms of what our Editing Service team can offer.

So if you have enough information and want to talk about your book or you want some more information then do please get in touch with us. Give us some initial indications of what you are looking for and we’ll take it from there. Contact us … today!

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