Four ways an author can help their book editor

By Will Allen, Editor at Major Street Publishing
So, you’ve had your book accepted for publication and your editor is ready to take it through the production process, which includes editing, design and formatting. Great! Time for you to kick back and relax, right?

Wrong! The production process is actually a collaboration, and the level of that collaboration can have a direct impact on the quality of the final product. Therefore, in order for your book to reach its full potential, it is vital that you and your editor are able to work together well.

Here are four things you can do to help make the production process as smooth and effective as possible…


1. Make time to fully engage with the process

The more you are able to put into the production process, the more you (and your book) will get out of it. This is most important during the edit, which is the phase of production that requires the most input from the author.

As well as marking up their suggested changes, your editor will ask you questions along the way to clarify your intentions and seek the best ways to communicate the content. It is important that you make time to collaborate with the editor and answer their questions as thoroughly as you can so that you can work together to help the manuscript reach its full potential.

2. Provide feedback in batches

There are generally four opportunities to provide feedback:

  1. during the initial edit
  2. after your feedback from the first edit has been addressed and you receive an updated version of the edited Word document
  3. after the book has been typeset
  4. when the book is ready to go to the printer.

Each phase of Major Street’s production process ends with an opportunity for the author to review progress and provide feedback. But what if you notice something in between one of those rounds of feedback? You should just pop it in an email to your editor, right?

No, you should wait for the next version your editor sends you and consolidate your changes. Why? Well, there are three key reasons we have discrete rounds of feedback:

  1. Efficiency: five rounds of feedback take longer to implement than one, even if each is much smaller. This extra time places pressure on the rest of the schedule.
  2. Version control: multiple rounds of feedback in one production phase means multiple documents and emails floating around. This opens up the risk of feedback getting lost or confused and not making it into the working document.
  3. Feedback quality: providing multiple rounds of feedback is usually a sign that an author has dipped in and out of reviewing the book, rather than sitting down and reviewing it thoroughly. We’ve found that compiling one definitive list of feedback for each phase results in better quality feedback and, as a result, a better final product.

3. Stick to deadlines

Your book’s going to print tomorrow, but wait – you’ve just thought of a great idea to add to that final chapter. It’s only a little paragraph. Can we just delay printing for a couple of days so we can get that paragraph in?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably going to be ‘no’. Our to-printer date is less flexible than authors sometimes realise, as it is dependent upon the printer’s schedule; a couple of days’ delay at our end can have a knock-on effect of a week or so at the printers. This, in turn, means we miss our date to get books to the warehouse to meet the all-important bookshop release date.  

We know you’re busy, though, and of course things can come up. That’s why we liaise with you about the production schedule before we begin so that you can plan ahead.


4. Trust our expertise

We want your book to be as great as you always imagined, so we will consult with you as much as possible throughout the production process. However, there is an element of trust involved. After all, you have chosen to work with an experienced publisher who knows what works and what doesn’t.

When you agree to publish your book through Major Street, you get the benefit of this experience as part of the package. We promise that the trust you place in our expertise will result in a polished and professional-looking book that you will be proud of!

Will Allen is Major Street's in-house editor, who joined Major Street after working at Lonely Planet on their travel guides. Will is now ensconced in business books and is enjoying learning from our expert authors about careers, business, mindset, leadership and the share and property markets.