Kathie's Corner

Dealing with Edits


You’re so excited! You’ve just received your manuscript back from your editor. Feeling dizzy with anticipation, you open the document . . . and gasp.

Your once pristine manuscript is covered with lines and scribbles:



Dealing with Edits fig 1


Or it’s full of color—with deletions, additions, highlights, and comments:


Dealing with Edits fig 2r


And if you were blessed to receive a copy of your manuscript after it’s been through an AutoCrit Editing Wizard Evaluation, well, it’s even brighter. I’ve heard that one called the “Christmas Tree Edit” for the color splashed all over it. Below is a picture from Lexi Revellian’s blog post Speed Bumps in The Text.


Dealing with Edits fig 3


Yes, it’s bright.

What happened? You were sure you had the best manuscript ever written, and there was a part of you that wondered why you even needed to pay for an editor when you were positive they wouldn’t find anything to “fix” anyway.

First, let me assure you that editors are not your enemy. They didn’t scribble or delete your words just to be mean or make themselves looks good. They offered educated suggestions that will make your manuscript as easy to read as possible. They fixed grammar and spelling issues. They pointed out things that made them stop in their tracks while reading. They worked to keep the flow of your story smooth.

Even knowing that, it’s shocking to see all those marks, isn’t it?

Once the shock wears off, what do you do with all of the information you’ve been given in your edit? If grammar and spelling aren’t your strong suit, I’d definitely accept those edits. That goes for the formatting fixes, as well.

In the past, I’ve told authors to look at the suggestions your editor has given you with an open mind. Some suggestions will make you think, “Gosh, I wish I’d thought of that!” Take those and incorporate them into your manuscript. Some items may not suit your book at all. You don’t have to take all of the suggestions offered.

Let me repeat that: You don’t have to take all of the suggestions offered.

This is your book; you know it better than anyone else.

However, do remember that the suggestions offered come from a professional editor with experience, so do take them in that light.

Trust your editor, and then make your best decision.

A huge thank you to authors Sandi Layne and Savannah Leigh for supplying me with examples of messy edits.


Kathie’s Corner is a bi-monthly column by Kathie Spitz. Kathie has two blogs, First Page to the Last (a book review blog) and Kathie’s Favorite Recipes (a recipe blog).

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