aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Editorial letters – never the same animal twice

Once your book has been accepted by a publisher, it follows a path. First there’s an editorial letter. It may be combined with line edits, or it may be separate. Once your editor is satisfied with your edits, the book goes on to a copyeditor. Depending on their level of pickiness, your manuscript may come back from the copyeditor marked with two-dozen Post-Its, or so many it looks like a porcupine. And then you’ll have to proof the pages a couple of times, by which time you are thoroughly sick of your own book.

In the past couple of months I’ve worked on editorial letters from two editors/houses. I’ve worked with four editors so far, and each has a different approach. Here are the most recent:

1. Publishing House 1: Overview of things that need to be worked on, in order of importance. That took 2-3 pages. The rest gave page numbers and notes on what the particular issue was on that page. Its focus was mostly on what needed to be fixed.

2. Publishing House 2: Brief overview, followed by discussions of the market, structure, setting, timeline, points of view, plot, themes, and queries/margin notes. While this letter was as long as the first, it actually contained a lot of compliments as well as observations, so the amount of work it contains was less.

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