Letting go of your manuscript can be a difficult experience. After writing and putting bits of yourself into your book, it isn’t always easy to hand it off for an editor to critique and change, but it’s a necessary step of the publishing process. Here are a few ways to make working with your editor easier.
- Trust. The first thing that you need to do is trust your editor. His job is to make you and your manuscript better, so trust that his suggestions and edits are based on experience and expertise.
- Have patience. Don’t expect to have your manuscript edited overnight. Editing is a time-consuming process and not something that can—or should—be rushed. Most editors tend to work on more than one project at a time, so be patient with your editor and know that the time she’s spending on your document is well worth it. When first engaging an editor, expect them to already be working on a project. Fear not, for this is a good thing: Worthwhile editors are in demand, plain and simple. As such, you need to allot plenty of time for the editorial process.
- Familiarize yourself with Word . . . like right now! Okay, okay—you can finish reading this article first. Just know that the more you learn about Word, the easier your writerly life will be! You’ll also be doing your editor a huge favor (not to mention saving time and avoiding potential document-cleanup fees) if you can format your manuscript properly with indentations, page breaks, styles, etc. Most importantly, you should familiarize yourself with Word’s Track Changes and Comments features. Lucky for you, we have articles on how to use both Track Changes and Comments in Word. Don’t be offended if your editor refuses to work on a hard copy of your manuscript; while this used to be the traditional method of editing, technology has rendered editing hard copies mostly obsolete and sped up the process immensely. (Alas—I memorized all those proofreading marks for nothing!)
- Brace yourself. When you receive your edited manuscript, brace yourself. You might be expecting it to look ready for print, but it’s going to have marks, lines, and comments all over it, making it seem like an overwhelmingly daunting task is before you. But if you’ve familiarized yourself with Track Changes, this won’t be such a frightening sight to behold.
- Understand that mistakes happen. You’ve made mistakes—that’s why you’ve hired an editor! But your editor is a human who isn’t perfect either, so there will be mistakes that aren’t caught. If teams of editors perform rounds of editing in traditional publishing and still miss things (which they do), it’s to be expected that one editor with one or two rounds of editing will miss something. But if your editor found 10,000 mistakes and missed 20, she’s doing pretty well.
For tips on working with your cover designer, click here!