Book Creation

Editorial Support

What to Expect from Your Relationship with Your Editor

Questions about the editing process are natural—especially if you are a first-time author. You may be wondering about your editor and what will happen to the manuscript you’ve worked so hard on. Who is this person, and what are they going to do to my book?

Your editor’s motivations are much the same as yours: to make your book the best it can be. Don’t worry: She doesn’t want to stifle your voice; she wants to help you be heard.

How to Have a Good Author-Editor Relationship

“I’ve heard horror stories about editors,” an author told me recently at the start of a project. Another said to me, “I was really expecting the worst during editing.” Horror stories? The worst? Really? What is going on in the publishing world that has authors dreading editors and their fiendish red pencils? I know a lot of editors, and I don’t think we’re a horrible lot. Yet editors do offer up similar lamentations about working with authors: “I need to start charging a stupidity fee” or “Why won’t they just accept that I’m right.” If you’re on either side of this editorial war, I recommend you read on for some rules of engagement:

Spoken Draft Service

For many authors, one of the obstacles in writing a book is finding the time to put pen to paper (or nowadays, fingers to keyboard). Another obstacle is that although they can speak about their subject matter easily and professionally, writing can be considerably more difficult to manage. GBG’s Spoken Draft service is a hybrid of our Manuscript Development service, in which an editor collaboratively coaches the author through the writing process, and Ghostwriting, in which a professional writer works directly with the author, usually through interviews, to create the manuscript in the author’s voice.

This service is perfect for the author who doesn’t need a full-fledged ghostwriter, but does not have the time or skills to write, and needs more guidance from an editor. The Spoken Draft process is using done in four phases.

1. Defining promise, theme, audience, and market differentiation

To ensure that the final manuscript is as clear in its messaging as possible and has the highest potential in the retail market, we will begin by brainstorming with the author to clarify the core promise and themes to keep the book focused. We will work to define the audience and identify those aspects of the author’s content that can best be leveraged to build a strong foundation for market differentiation. We will also discuss the author’s platform and outreach efforts to ensure that the final book will be aligned with promotional efforts and broader goals.

2. Outlining

Once the focus, audience, and market have been defined, the editor will interview the author to refine the organization of ideas and content to ensure that the core message is clearly communicated. The goal is to create a clear arc for the book that helps the reader digest the content and build toward an identifiable end goal. The end result will be a detailed outline the editor and author can follow during the content creation phase. This outline will be very detailed, including headings, speaking prompts, and word count total goals for the author to use later to create the content.

3. Recording early content

Once the outline has been fully developed, the editor will interview the author for some early sample content. We will transcribe it and provide feedback on clarity, style, tone, flow, and integration of themes and ideas.

4. Recording a first draft

The editor and author will set up an interview schedule to record the rest of the book in sections. Prior to each interview, the author will prepare the upcoming research, case studies, and other content that will be discussed during the recording session. After transcribing, the editor will provide a notated, completed first draft that the author and subsequent editors will use as a base for the final retail-ready manuscript.

Once this process is complete, we expect that we will have a complete draft to work with. We will analyze this draft (perform a second diagnosis) to determine what further editorial work (at additional cost) would be required to get to a final, high-quality book that will be ready for market. This editorial work could include the following:

  • Developmental edit: An editor would collaborate with the author to restructure or reorganize content to improve the logical argument and arc of the book, would possibly add short passages of new content or rewrite current content for clarity and flow, and would prompt the author to address content issues that require subject matter expertise. This is focused on ensuring that the content is valid, complete, and well organized and that the book is marketable and meets the reader’s needs.
  • Copyedit: During this editorial stage, the editor addresses issues of style, clarity, and usage; improves sentence structure where necessary; and increases the overall readability of the text.
  • Proofread: During proofreading, we work to ensure proper technical style and correct grammar and punctuation. We also review the composed pages for any potential layout issues and work to ensure that the final product is high quality and ready for retail shelves.