Where Does Editing Fit? How Service Providers Work Together

Where Does Editing Fit?
How Service Providers Work Together for Self-Publishers

four puzzle pieces held together as in members of a publishing team

Editors and other service providers all work together to make a great book. CC image “Working Together Teamwork Puzzle” courtesy of Scott Maxwell on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

For the self-publishing author, one of the most difficult challenges is the dizzying array of interlocking services a book production requires. You have editors, designers, printers, digital conversion, marketing, and so on.

Many authors, understandably, prefer to work with a company which provides all these services under one roof. Reputable all-in-one providers promote good communication between author and editor. Make sure you have access to your editor—or any other provider—before signing on the dotted line.

Yet whether you choose to go with umbrella coverage—taking into account that some “end to end” services may not be as above-board as others, and vetting properly—or you work with providers on-on-one, it’s a good idea to understand how their work relates to and depends on each other.

No provider—Editor, Designer, Marketer—works in a vacuum

Editors need to know about your target audience, and how to make your story worth reading—the very essence of marketing and selling your book. Marketers want you to have a well-edited and designed book. Designers recommend editors and appreciate marketers, and so on. Single-handedly, none of us are able to produce the perfect book for you.

No provider for your indie book works in a vaccum. Click To Tweet

So where does editing fit in the grand scheme of things? Editors are with you from the beginning of the manuscript preparation process. Typically, this is the first provider an author works with. However, our work doesn’t stop when we hand the manuscript back to you.

Editors touch multiple parts of the publishing process

It’s useful if your editor understands the kinds of questions your layout designer might ask, and be aware of the formatting challenges your manuscript might face. They can answer questions for the designer if needed. And they can help with your back cover copy.

Word is not a layout or publication tool. A good designer will talk with you to get the look you want and a good editor can make their job easier. Sometimes, it is nice for the editor and designer to have direct contact with each other, especially if your layout is complex, though this isn’t required.

The back cover copy is a key part of your marketing. You can repurpose this text in many ways: sales page, website, one-sheet, other materials. Guess who knows your book as well as you do? That’s right, your editor. Not asking your editor about help with back cover copy is a missed opportunity.

Not asking your editor about help with back cover copy is a missed opportunity. Click To Tweet

Your editor is also a great resource. Most editors know designers, marketers, publishers, and/or printers. A trusted recommendation is the best way I know to receive quality work and avoid unsavory outfits. And although we are not necessarily experts on design, say, or social media, most editors know enough to point you in the right direction, or flag a potential problem before you dive in head-first. The line of referrals can go the other way, too. If you find a great designer or small publisher, they can usually point you in the direction of a great editor.

The bottom line

Editing support does not have to stop at the end of the final revision. Your editor can help you get ready for design, marketing, and production steps. That said, the editor is the first step in your publishing process. Don’t skip it.

Whether you decide to choose your providers individually, or work with—after appropriately vetting—an all-in-one company, realize that all pieces of the book creation process relate to each other. It’s best for you to begin thinking about and talking to potential providers before you think you need them.

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