The Editorial Process: The Author's Responsibilities

If you’ve found a publisher for your book (or think you may soon have one), you may be wondering what your responsibilities will look like once your manuscript is with your editor. After all, now that the book is in the hands of experts, the author's work is done, right? In truth, this is where the real fun begins. 

Depending on the editorial work your book needs, your manuscript may require multiple rounds of editing with experts that specialize in different areas, like proofreading or substantive editing. As the author, your responsibilities may vary slightly depending on the edit at hand, but there are certain expectations that will remain the same throughout the editorial process. 

During this part of the process you can expect to:

  • Meet deadlines

  • Remove or add content as needed

  • Communicate

  • Collaborate

Meeting your deadlines

The editorial deadlines on your production schedule help ensure that your book goes through the stages of editing in a timely manner, so that each level of editing can be done carefully and diligently. Not meeting your deadlines can cause a domino effect that could possibly lead to the introduction of errors, oversights, or other problems. Meet your deadlines, and you will help make sure each editor has enough time with your manuscript to polish your book so that it shines.

Adding or removing content

As your editor (or editors) are going through your manuscript, they may come across places in the text where they feel further explanation is needed. This happens quite a lot. Authors are so close to their work that they may feel an idea or concept is implicit in the text when actually it isn’t. This creates problems when readers are trying to understand your message. Your editor will make suggestions for how to fix instances like this, but ultimately you should be prepared to pick up the pen again for some light re-writing.

On the flip side, your editor might also find places in the text where the information provided—while it may seem important to you—could be superfluous to the arc of the narrative. When this happens, the editor will suggest that your manuscript would benefit from some cutting. It’s hard not to take these kinds of suggestions personally. But keep in mind that your editor is an advocate for your reader and they are trying to help make your book the best that it can be. (Maybe the information you’re removing could work elsewhere in a blog post.)

Communicating openly with your editor

You may have the misconception that your editor is taking a red pen to your words—slashing and cutting and completely dissecting your prose—but rest assured, this is not the case. Your editor helps polish your work so that it is ready to be released into the world. By keeping an open and honest dialog with your editor, you can best use their expertise to your book’s advantage. Your editor is your coach and is there to help you do your best in the game of getting your book to its appropriate audience.

Collaborating is key

As your book goes through the stages of editing, it’s nice to have someone who you can bounce ideas off of. If your editor points out a flaw in your manuscript, and you don’t necessarily agree with their solution, you can collaborate with them to come up with an answer that will not only satisfy you but your readers as well.

Would you like to talk to someone about getting your book into production? Contact us at, or visit our submissions page. If you have any questions for Greenleaf Editorial about the editing process or your project, tweet us @GreenleafBookGr.