If you’re writing a book, engage an editor along the way. Each phase of writing needs a different editorial focus. This process can be confusing for first-time writers. Don’t stress. These guidelines will help.

Engage an Editor after the First Chapter

It’s a good idea to get feedback early in your writing process. Once you have your thesis statement and a full chapter complete, start seeking feedback on your work. You can do this in a number of ways.

Drip Content as You Go

Post chapters or portions of chapters to your blog, Medium, or LinkedIn. Use the engagement and comments as a litmus test for your work. As an added bonus, you can insert a line that says, “This article is from my forthcoming book…” That’s right! You can test your content and promote your book at the same time!

Your Book Strategist or Business Coach

I always recommend working with someone who can help you through the writing process. Specifically, I recommend Cathy Fyock, The Business Book Strategist, because she is AMAZING. Cathy will review a sample chapter and your overall outline to help you gain momentum early on.

If you have a business coach or other mentor, ask specifically if they can help you incorporate your book into your overall business strategy. If so

Your Network

Ask a friend or colleague to provide some honest feedback. Can they tell from the sample chapter what your book is about? Who your reader is?

Be careful here. It’s important to select reviewers who will be honest with you. Don’t If your sister is always criticizing you, steer clear of her negative energy.

You should also consider whether the person is a reasonable proxy for your target reader.

After the First Draft

Where to Go for Help

Once your first draft is complete, it’s time for high-level feedback. For this, you can hire a professional editor, or assemble an “Editorial Board” (Cathy’s term) from within your writing community.
Either way, you can ask these folks to read your draft and look at it holistically.

The Kind of Help You Need

Typically, at this stage, you’ll want to ask your editor(s):
  • Are the tone (e.g., professional vs. casual) and perspective (e.g., 1st person vs. 3rd person) consistent throughout?
  • Is information presented in a logical sequence?
  • Where do you need personal stories / anecdotes to drive a point home?
  • Are there any missing steps or logical leaps that would be confusing to your reader?
  • Are there any sections that are redundant or that should be omitted entirely so you stay true to your stated theses?

What Happens Next

After you get this feedback, you’ll probably have a bit of work to do. (Some authors have very little; others decide to do extensive rewrites.)
Once you’ve incorporated all the structural changes you want to make, it’s time to engage a copyeditor / proofreader to catch the little details. More on that in an upcoming post…
Confused about the publishing process? Leave your questions in the comments section. I’ll do my best to answer them all!

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