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Tips, Inspiration, & Resources

Do you really need an editor for your book?

Photo by Aung Soe Min on Unsplash.

The answer is this: It is entirely up to you.


If you've taken your book as far as you can take it—and either you're stuck, or you just need a fresh pair of eyes--then you might consider finding an editor.


Taking your book as far as you can take it means different things to different authors.

It could mean you've written a first chapter and an outline and you want feedback before you go any further.


Or it can mean you've written several drafts of an entire book or proposal. Only you can say if you've taken it as far as you can go for now.


Timing is key.


If you feel you are ready to work with an editor, make sure you are at a point when you can benefit from stepping back and gaining perspective—and when you are ready to leave the book alone for at least a couple of weeks, or several weeks, while the editor does her thing.


What If You Can't Afford a Paid Professional?


You may be able to find that fresh pair of eyes you need from a trusted literary friend rather than a paid professional. Or you may have the good fortune to find a writers' critique group that supports you with constructive suggestions.


No matter where you go, use all your powers of discernment.


Before you give your precious work in progress to anyone, rely on your intuition and common sense as well. A so-called friend or colleague who secretly envies your talents and opportunities is the worst person you could ever give your book to. 


What's also key to remember is that it takes skill to give useful feedback on a book. Not everyone who loves to read or even who writes well has the skills to give you the kind of detailed, specific, constructive, and honest feedback you might need to take your book to the next level.


So be selective about whom you give your book to for feedback, whether it's a paid professional or a trusted friend.


Be selective in hiring a professional editor.

  • Talk to the person. Clearly state what your hopes and desires are in terms of working with an editor. Ask lots of questions.
  • See if you feel in your heart if the two of you are a good match.
  • Make sure that person takes a good look at a sample of your work before making a decision to take you on.
  • You want someone who is selective, too. Someone who can be of service to the project and the author. Someone who cannot connect to the material cannot really be of service.
  • Make sure they've got testimonials on their website and/or can give you references to contact.
  • Beware of people who tell you that in order to get published you must work with a freelance editor.
  • Be even warier of those who tell you that if you hire them, or if you hire the editor they refer you to, that they will get you published. No one can make such a guarantee.

         What a good professional editor can do is help you develop your strengths and fix your weaknesses and, in so doing, increase your chances of getting your book into optimum shape, whether you're pursuing the traditional publishing path or planning to publish independently.


Wishing you lots of happiness and success with all your writing endeavors!



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How NOT to hate writing a book proposal

I know what you might be thinking. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't hate the idea of writing a book proposal. I'LL GIVE YOU THREE GOOD REASONS.


1.   A good proposal serves as a blueprint for a compelling and coherent book that is unique in the marketplace and serves the needs of your target readers. Isn't it better to have that blueprint before you start than risk the chance of having to tear down what you've built and start from scratch because you didn't research the market or refine your idea?


2.   The process of researching and writing your proposal can get you all fired up about how great your book is. If it's having  the opposite effect, then it can inspire you to re-think your concept and come up with an idea that really keeps you fired up for the long haul.


3.   It serves as the foundation from which you will eventually publicize your book when it gets published. By the time you've perfected your proposal, you've become such an expert on how this book touches a chord with the public that you are able to succinctly and brilliantly express your conviction to other people.


Many writers of nonfiction books who are experts in their fields are not necessarily experts in explaining why people should want to read their book. Often we are so close to the work that we can't express ourselves clearly in terms that the sales department of the publishing house can repeat to the bookstores.


But after having worked on a good book proposal, you the author will be an expert in explaining why the public should buy your book and what they will gain from it.


So, now you know why it's good for you. But let's say you still feel less than enthusiastic, or intimidated, or overwhelmed. I'm going to show you how to break through those blocks with a powerful exercise.

 Read More 

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