Book editor

10 ways a book editor can help besides editing

An editor can give you a hand out of all sorts of tight spots in your book’s development, not just writing and editing. A seasoned outside eye can help you smooth out story issues before you start writing or help you sell your novel effectively once you’ve finished.

Not sure you’re on the right track? Your book editor may have exactly the service or expertise you need.

Reasons to consult an editor

When you need seasoned advice on how to proceed with your book’s development, try asking an editor.

1. When your story’s not working, but you can’t put your finger on why. A manuscript critique or developmental edit helps you figure out where the problem lies. Story coaching teaches you how to build strong stories from the start and then spot story issues on your own.

2. When you’re not sure your concept is strong enough to support a novel. Story coaching shows whether you’ve lined up the right ingredients in the right proportions to create a compelling story.

3. If you’ve never written fiction before. Most editors offer some sort of super-short edit you can use to help get your feet underneath yourself. An excerpt edit can help you learn the ropes of fiction narrative technique.

4. If you want to lower your editing rates. Here’s another smart option for the DIYers. An excerpt edit can target your most common writing issues so you can clean up your manuscript before a full edit. If you’re confident in your ability to apply feedback to the rest of your manuscript, you may be able to considerably lower your final editing costs.

5. To get the faster writing times that come with writing from a solid outline. Story coaching helps you block out the basic character motivations, story conflict, and turning points of your story before you get started.

6. If you want to learn what makes a good story tick. A developmental edit becomes a rich learning experience when you approach it with a growth mindset. Many editors also offer classes and coaching to help you master the craft of storytelling.

7. When you need help writing a back cover blurb and marketing copy that sells. Editors often offer writing or editing services for cover blurbs and other marketing copy.

8. When you need help writing a query letter or synopsis for submission to an agent. How do you write a query letter to an agent? Editors often offer query writing, editing, or critique services.

9. When your beta readers, volunteer proofreaders, ARC reviewers, or other readers raise issues you’re not certain about. Editors bring a host of professional guidelines and experience to bear on the stylistic decisions that have gone into the editing of your book. Before you make wholesale changes based on the opinions of volunteers and other nonprofessionals who may be helping out, double-check with your editor to make sure you’re not introducing new issues.

10. When you need a referral or a resource for another publishing-related issue. While some editors take a production-oriented, in-and-out sort of approach, many are happy to offer a quick bit of direction to established clients. When you don’t know where to turn next, ask your editor. They can refer you to a trusted colleague or direct you to a reputable publishing professional, organization, or service that can help.

Read more: Your next steps—publishing resources for authors 

Lisa Poisso, Editor and Book Coach

Understanding how stories work changes everything. I’ll show you how to back up your creative instincts so your ideas hit home. It’s time to accelerate your journey from aspiring writer to emerging author. 

Ready to get serious about your book? Apply to work with me.

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