Time To Know What is a Book Editor

If you don’t know what is a book editor, then you are not a book author. Every book author knows about a book editor and her role in polishing the author's manuscript before it reaches the hands of a reader.

photo of website owner raza hasnain naqvi

If you are the author who is writing his first manuscript, or you have finished your first manuscript, or you are already a published author, then you understand the importance of editing. Don’t they say, “real writing is rewriting?” What is ‘rewriting’? Rewriting is editing where you edit out the fluff, the extra words, the extra sentences and make your words flow smoothly. 

Every book author who goes on to write the second draft of their manuscript after having finished the first draft is really rewriting many thoughts written earlier. In other words, every book author carries the spark of an editor inside her. If you don’t self-edit what you have written, you plan to deliver something raw to the hands of your reader. If that happens, it could be a small plus or a big minus for you.

Small plus because the reader will get to see the real you that emerges in your raw writing. All your mistakes and errors are there for the reader to see and profile your personality. You could be tagged as an honest and transparent author, or ‘a-hurried-I-don’t-care-author’. Most of the time, expect the ‘hurried’ tag for yourself.

If at this time, the question comes to your mind ‘what is a book editor’ then you can be saved a lot of embarrassment. This question will lead you into the arms of a person who can promise to lift you out of your rawness, your in-your-face transparent attitude of non-debatable errors in your words in your precious manuscript. 

This ‘book editor’ can guide your manuscript on a path that is paved with eager readers waving their hands at you to get your attention. In plain words, your book editor will polish your manuscript, cook it properly, not leave it raw so that the final dish/book is as delightful as can be for your hungry reader.

Before You Ask ‘What is a Book Editor’

If your book manuscript is ready, or the first draft is done, then it is time to take the next step. Write a second draft of the manuscript. Once that is done, begin the third draft of your manuscript. In completing these three drafts you, the book author, will have edited out many words, sentences, scenes, chapters that were not making sense to you. 

Now, you get to ask ‘what is a book editor’ because you have done your due diligence and are now ready to expect an entity in your life who should be able to breathe new life into your manuscript. That mythical book editor who never came into your dreams, as they were too populated by your story characters or your non-fiction chapters, will now make her presence felt without any subtle ‘hello’.

That book editor will become someone who will unapologetically raise queries and highlight such things in your manuscript that could torment you or awaken you to a glorious sunrise every morning. 

You will either want to gnash your teeth at this point, or send a quick ‘word of thanks’ to your supreme God for sending this gift of a good book editor in your life. When you met him, your book editor looked so kind and gentle, like a rabbit. But, when you finally contracted him to work on your manuscript - those precious words that you put so much toil and tears into - the editor threw off that cloak of kindness. He then emerged as some kind of villain, a violent character, out to spill virtual blood on your manuscript. You now see so many red marks on your manuscript that you can really feel that pain, even rage, and you mentally question: “how dare he”?

But, like it or not, he did do the unthinkable and open your eyes to all the errors that were peeping through your manuscript. She deleted words, sentences, did formatting and forced your mind to think hard about your manuscript again. 

And, now you finally began to understand ‘what is a book editor’.

illustration of man working on laptop

My Editing & Writing Experience

Allow me to share something from my own experience of what is a book editor like. 

My journey towards book editing started from a daily newspaper where I worked for six years. During that time, I ultimately landed up in the position of senior copy editor. My job was to edit daily reports filed by news reporters and make the page that would actually be displayed in the hands of the readers the next day.

The next step towards my book editing journey was putting in four years as a freelance book editor. Here, I was involved in editing six books till April 2024. This included an autobiography, a historical research-based book on a university, a collection of short non-fiction stories and a collection of historical letters. 

In terms of writing, I have spent 8 years as a freelance writer, contributing articles to magazines and the newspaper that I worked in.

For more details, check out my Work Porfolio

That’s it from me. 

All the best. 

~ Raza Hasnain Naqvi

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