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Byline Friday, Issue #001 -- Mindset of a Book Editor
May 09, 2024

Mindset of a Book Editor


Let me give you a peek into the mindset of a book editor.

A book editor is all about good books. In simple words, he wants that any book project he works on, or any manuscript that an author presents him, it should become smooth and easily consumed by a reader.

The book editor looks at the manuscript and the wheels in his mind start turning. He wants to know how the author has presented his thoughts and material in the manuscript. He is also keen to know how much thought has been given to the section called 'Table of Contents'.

In fact, there are a few specific things that a book editor like me does when I get any manuscript from an author who comes to me and decides to hire me to edit their book.

1. Once the payment formalities are done, I set up a video call with the author to understand his motivation and attitude in writing and publishing his book.

2. Any queries I have, I get them resolved by the author so that there is clarity about the book project.

3. I discuss the timeline of book project completion with the author. We then come to an agreed time frame in which the book will have been edited and ready.

4. I check the number of words and pages in the manuscript.

5. I create an Excel sheet where I can start updating my book editing progress daily.

6. I do a quick read of the manuscript to get a sense of its pace and important sections, including Chapter breaks.

7. I start planning corrections and updates in the 'Table of Contents' (ToC) page.

8. I start planning the relevant subsections for the ToC. This leads me to making my first entry in the Excel sheet of any missing pages that the book author has not created yet.

9. Next I start editing the ToC sections and pages one by one. It is at this time that I also create a style guide for the book project to keep uniformity in the book.

10. Once my book editing work starts, I start leaving comments on the editing page of the manuscript. This helps the author to see that the desired corrections are made by him and leave a Reply comment stating the progress being made.

These are the first steps that any book editor like me takes when he starts working on the author's manuscript. The book editor starts pushing his mind to find words, sentences, passages and even book chapters that need to be corrected and improved.

The book editor remains patient throughout this editing journey and keeps guiding the author with his advice and suggestions.

The book editor is keen to have a professional relationship with the book author. This helps the book editor in convincing the author about the need for relevant corrections required in the manuscript.

This brings into a being a book that the author and editor are both proud of.

~ Raza @bylineraza

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