If I were to describe my editing goal it would be: editor seeks author for long-term relationship. I’ve worked with writers on second, third, and, this summer, even fourth books. And, while I like to think I am generous and accommodating, not every author responds to my editing style and that's okay.
Ernest Hemingway once offered, “The first draft of anything is sh!t.” In his posthumous 1984 memoir, With Hemingway: A Year in Key West and Cuba, Arnold Samuelson shares his experiences working as a deckhand on Hemingway’s fishing boat for ten months in 1934. During their sea-faring adventure, Hemingway offered Samuelson, then a nineteen-year-old struggling writer, the following advice:
Just over a decade ago, most print-on-demand (POD) service providers were cutting their baby teeth. It was exciting; it felt good to be a subversive, if small, cog in disrupting an industry where six traditional publishers (now the Big Five) had long decided, in no uncertain terms, what readers read and how. During the reign of traditional publishers, indie and hybrid publishing were dismissed as “vanity.”
To every writer who tells me, “It’s not about the money,” I first say, “Good.” (Something like 1 percent of writers are able to support themselves through writing.) Next, I say, “Think like a publisher.” Some authors aren’t keen to view their books as commodities, but books are products, and it’s best to make financial decisions with a publisher’s mindset.
I recently performed an editorial review on a book that came to me through IngramSpark, and when the author, Dave, decided to move forward with editing services, I cherry-picked it. Our schedule was tight, and a week or so later, I recommended 2,523 total edits and offered 78 comments . . . only some of which he decided to accept.
The book editing process is highly personal and it's important to know what you're getting into before you begin. Here are a few frequently asked questions about the book editing process to help authors better understand what to expect.