You’ve gone through rigorous
research and rewrites. And now, you’re ready to track down an editor. But
you may be asking yourself: what
information do I need to give to my editor before they begin their edits?
Here are the top eight things I recommend authors communicate to their editor when sending in their manuscript.
1) What Specifically You’re Looking For: This detail is probably the most important one of all, and one that will give your editor direction to better match your vision. What type of edits are you looking for? Content? Developmental? Suggestions? Line-by-line? Proofread Edits with Track-Changes on? Every editor does have their own unique style and approach to editing, and even if you simply request a proofread, there’s a chance the editor will still provide content or even some line-by-line suggestions too. Always remember, that even if a suggestion or comment or edit doesn’t fit your bigger vision, don’t take it personally against the editor. They’re pouring several hours of effort into your work, to help it as best as they can. And, even if the edits might not fit your perfect vision, don’t completely throw them out. Take some time to reflect on them, because a suggestion from a good editor could potentially help you avoid a harsh or terrible critique or online review later on down the road.
2) Comparable Titles: This is essential if you want your book to match a certain style or genre. Without a comparable title to reference, an editor may edit the book in the style they prefer, instead of in the style it’s intended to be modeled after. Comparable titles can help your editor with narrowing in on the tone, flow, and overall sentence structure for your work.
3) Target Audience: This goes hand-in-hand with comparable titles. While a title may give an idea of a target audience, make sure you are specific as to what age-group, reader-group, and marketing plan you have in mind.
4) Beta Reader/R&R Critiques: It’s always a good idea to have someone else read your manuscript before it’s sent to your editor. Whether you have a loyal fanbase of Beta Readers, or you decide to start querying agents or publishers, getting some concrete feedback from your potential readers can help your editor to focus on the specific problem areas in the story and help you to polish it to perfection. The more critiques and constructive criticism you can provide, the more it will help your editor in the long run.
5) Your Intentions/Themes/Goals: Give your overall vision for your story. What do you want its tone to be? Funny and lighthearted? Gritty and heavy? Whimsical? Tense? What themes do you want to push forward the most? What’s your ultimate goal and take-away you want a reader to have after finishing your story? These are all useful pointers to help your editor narrow in on the specific details of your writing.
6) World-Building Rules and Notes: If you have a world with elements to it that operate outside of the norm, make sure you provide information to your editor on how these elements are supposed to work. Whether you’re building a magic system, or creating a brand-new government from the ground up, these details again will help you editor with fine-tuning how to express your world throughout your manuscript.
7) Character Profiles: Not every editor will request a profile or in-depth analysis of your characters, but feel free to offer it to your editor in case they might be interested. Having an idea of your character’s personality type, interests, passions, aversions, things they love/hate, and overall growth can help immensely with giving an editor a better overall picture of what you have in mind for your characters.
8) Your Dream Publishing House or Current Self-Publishing Plan: And last but not least, be sure to clearly express what your publication intentions are for your manuscript. If you have a specific publishing house in mind, or if you’re diving headfirst into a self-publishing journey, make sure that your editor is aware of what your intentions for publication are. Because an editor operates best when they know your bigger picture and ultimate end-goal for your story.
So, these are my personal top eight things I recommend sending to your editor in addition to your manuscript. What do you think? Are there some details I left off? And what are your thoughts on the editing process overall? I hope you have a blessed day!