The single most asked question I receive is: What can I expect during edits? While the answer to this will vary from publisher to publisher depending on internal processes, there are some very basic things that should be expected within the author-editor relationship. In this three part mini-series, I’m going to very specifically outline what those expectations are, why they’re important, and how you can ensure they’re being met. So, for part one, I’m going to start by discussing what the editorial process entails here at Anaiah–which I’ll reference in future parts–and questions you should be asking.
Step #1 — After signing a contract with Anaiah Press, the editorial process begins immediately. When you receive your welcome email, included will be a developmental edit letter. This is basically a letter that outlines any big picture issues dealing with characterization, plot, pacing, etc.
Step #2 — Once the author completes developmental edits and returns them to his/her editor, content edits will begin. This step can take several weeks or months depending on how much work the book needs. During this stage, there will be comments throughout the manuscript pointing out inconsistencies, plot holes, character issues, grammar, etc.
Step #3 — This is our QA, or Quality Assurance, stage. Here, your book will be sent to a member of our Executive Management team for their read-through. They’ll simply read it and look for any issues that may have been missed during content edits, or for anything that violates our in-house guidelines and preferences.
Step #4 — Upon completion of all content edits and the QA read, the manuscript moves on to copy edits. At this stage, a different editor will go through and ensure all facts are accurate and the grammar adheres to any and all style guides.
Step #5 — This is the final stage in our editorial process, and this is the fun part where you get to see a digital galley of your book and proofread it!
So, why is it important to know what the editorial process looks like? Because you want to know what to expect! Can you imagine signing with a publisher and then finding out they don’t do any editing? Or expect you to hire and pay for your own editor?
Okay, so what questions should you be asking, and when should you ask them?
Ask during contract negotiations! This is absolutely information you want to have before you sign on the dotted line. So, when you get the offer for publication, start asking questions.
Here are the questions I recommend asking:
- Why types of edits do you foresee my book needing?
- What is your editorial process?
- How many different editors will be working on my book?
- Will I be assigned a specific editor? If so, what are his/her qualifications?
- Will I have the ability to review and approve edits?
- What is the estimated editorial timeline?
- What happens if I don’t like my editor?
- What happens if my editor makes changes I disagree with?
For so many authors, editing is the single scariest part of the publishing process. You’ve worked months, sometimes years on your book, and the thought of a stranger coming in and changing your words, your vision, is terrifying! So, ask questions! Know what to expect. It will make the entire process that much easier.
Be sure to come back on July 8th for part two–An editor’s expectations for an author.