3 Unexpected Ways a Book Editor Can Help You

You may be wondering: How can a book editor help me?

Many of my authors come to me after they’ve completed a draft of their manuscript—as one would expect. After months (sometimes years) of writing, they know they need a professional book editor to help with bigger issues like making sure their story structure is sound, or smaller issues like sharpening the language.

However, I’ve found that so many authors don’t quite understand the complete scope of what a book editor can do for them. A good book editor doesn’t simply just take a draft, make some notes and just turn it over to an author without any deeper interaction. In fact, the role of the book editor is so much more comprehensive.

Here are 3 things that you might not realize about book editors:

1. They can be your go-to publishing consultants.

Not sure if the idea you have for your book will stand out on the market? A savvy, knowledgeable and communicative book editor will be able to tell you—and help you work out a way to carve out your niche or make your concept appealing to agents and publishers.

Wondering if you should pursue traditional publishing or self publish? A book editor can help you there, too. A book editor can even guide you through your options when you’ve been offered a book deal by a publisher and have questions over whether or not you should take it; on the self-publishing end, a book editor can act as a production manager, helping you manage the sometimes overwhelming process of producing your book the right way.

2. They can help you write your book from the ground up.

Don’t fall into the first-time author trap of believing you shouldn’t reach out to a book editor until you’ve typed the final punctuation mark on your manuscript. A good book editor can also help you evolve your book’s vision, grow your characters, solidify your story structure, and put all of the pieces together from the very beginning of your book-writing journey.

This may seem a little strange to some. However, it’s actually how I prefer to work with my authors. I love working one-on-one with them in this deep and intensive way, becoming fully immersed in their story worlds. This back-and-forth interaction often fosters a leap of creativity. Next time you turn back to your book idea, think of book editors as writing coaches that can help you take your work to the next level.

3. They can be your connectors.

Especially with so many independent book editors out there today, more and more editors act like entrepreneurs, forging quality, meaningful connections with other professionals in the publishing business. So, if you work with a well-connected book editor on a manuscript you decide to self publish, chances are that book editor knows a great interior designer, cover designer, copy editor and proofreader—among many others who can help you beyond the skills of a book editor. If you want to traditionally publish, a good book editor can connect you with agents or help you put together a great publishing proposal.

One nonfiction author that I worked with, Nancy Rose, was writing a parenting book and needed some more expert opinions to boost her credibility as an author. As luck would have it, another one of my authors, Dr. Susan Newman, is a well-known parenting expert who has been featured in several media outlets. I was happy to connect the two; their work together not only helped Nancy ramp up her book’s points, but also lead her to many parenting resources that built up the content of her book.

No matter where you are in the writing process, a good book editor can be your new best friend in publishing.

What do you look for in a book editor?

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