A popular post from August 2010
By Heather Moore
I recently turned in a manuscript to my publisher. Although I’m thrilled to have completed another manuscript, I’m thinking of the editing process with some trepidation.
Once you have a publishing contract, you might think the publisher has forgotten about you for awhile. “When will I get to work with my editor?” you might ask. Be careful what you wish for. Although I have been lucky enough so far to have editors who’ve allowed fair give-and-take throughout the editing process, the editing process continues to be daunting.
When I finish my manuscript, I send out the book to several alpha readers on my own. When I get their comments back, I go through my manuscript and revise. So by the time I turn in the manuscript to my publisher, I feel I’m well into the editing process. Yet, from the publisher’s perspective, it has only begun.
Steps of editing that you might face (or look forward to):
Phase 1: General evaluations from the readers who were hired by your publisher to see if your manuscript is marketable and fits the line-up of the publisher.
Your Job: Revise according to suggestions and resubmit
Phase 2: Your assigned editor will read through book and make general comments. Sometimes this might come back very detailed or more overall plot/character/etc. issues.
Your Job: Revise, discuss, revise again, with editor
Phase 3: After both you and the editor are pleased with the book, the manuscript moves onto the copy editing stage (or line editing). My publisher uses two different copy editors for this stage
Your Job: Review copy edit, approve changes, or revise accordingly. This stage is really the last chance to change anything in your manuscript.
Phase 4: Proofreading. Once the copyedits are finalized, the manuscript is transposed into book layout form. Also called the galley stage or the typeset version. My publisher uses two proofreaders to check formatting and look for typos or other errors.
Your Job: Some writers leave it up to the proofreader, but I like to print out a hard copy and, yes, painstakingly read through it again. During this stage it’s very hard to change more than a word or two since a sentence addition or deletion often changes the layout of the page and/or chapter.
The good news is that with all of these stages of editing, your book will get much stronger, much tighter, and become something to be proud of.