You may not have heard their names, but book editors are the unsung heroes of the publishing industry. Learn how their behind-the-scenes work turns manuscripts into bestsellers.
For many aspiring authors, the thought of handing over their beloved manuscript to an editor — or anyone else for that matter — can be daunting. However, editors play a vital role in the publishing process, and working with a skilled editor can greatly enhance the quality and appeal of a book. In this post, we’ll explore the important role that book editors play over the course of a book’s publishing journey, and shed some light on what they do to help bring a book to life.
The role of a book editor is to help authors refine and improve their manuscripts. You may think that they’re there to correct grammar and spelling mistakes but, whilst that’s certainly part of the job, the role is much deeper than that. Editors work closely with authors to identify areas of the book that could be strengthened or expanded, and provide constructive feedback on everything from character development to pacing, tone, and style. However, readers won’t often notice their input at all.
Did you know that Harper Lee’s original manuscript for ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ originally had Atticus Finch as the lead-character? The book’s editor’s suggested that the focus switch to Atticus’ daughter Scout as readers would better connect with the message of the book thanks to her perspective. The result was an instant classic and goes to show just how important an editor’s objectivity can be on your creative process.
In fact, one of the key benefits of working with an editor is that they bring a fresh set of eyes to the manuscript. After spending months (or even years) working on a book, it can be difficult for authors to see their own work objectively. An editor, on the other hand, can offer an unbiased perspective and provide valuable insights into how readers might respond to the book. This can be especially helpful for debut authors who may be navigating the publishing process for the first time.
Another important aspect of an editor’s role is to ensure that the book is consistent and cohesive. Editors work to ensure that the book flows smoothly from beginning to end, and that there are no jarring transitions or inconsistencies in the plot or characterisation. They also help to ensure that the book is appropriate for its intended audience, whether that’s a children’s picture book or a complex novel.
Of course, editors are people too. They’re not infallible. There may be times when an author disagrees with an editor’s suggestions or feedback. Perhaps there’s a discussion on making the book shorter, changing the pacing of the story, or maybe even suggestions around certain character traits. However, the key to a successful author-editor relationship is open communication and a willingness to work together to achieve the best possible outcome for the book.
The role of a book editor is an important one; both for the author and the publisher. They bring a fresh perspective and offer valuable feedback and insights to help authors refine and improve their manuscripts. They also play a key role in ensuring that the book is cohesive, appropriate for its intended audience, and ready for the publishing process. While working with an editor may seem intimidating at first, the benefits of a successful author-editor relationship can be immense, and can ultimately help to produce a book that readers will love.
If you are an aspiring author looking to get your manuscript published, we encourage you to submit your work to us here at Matthew James Publishing.
Our team has over twenty years of combined experience in the publishing world and is passionate about helping writers hone their craft and bring their stories to life. We are always on the lookout for exciting new talent. So, whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, we invite you to submit your manuscript to us today. We can’t wait to help you on your journey to becoming a published author.
Who knows, you could be the next Stephen King or Jodi Picoult?