Getting your manuscript back

Last time, I covered Preparing for the Editor. If you missed it, you can check out the blog article here.

This one, I want to talk about getting your manuscript back.

My editor uses Track Changes and comments in Microsoft Word, and wow. Opening that document up and seeing all the red can be overwhelming.

So stop. And breathe.

You’ve done the hard work. Now it’s time to put on the (not-quite) final coat of polish.

Most editors will send out a cover letter, letting you know what they’ve done. Read that first, then walk away and have a cuppa. Let it sink in.

When you’re ready, it’s time to get stuck into it.

The first thing I do is look at all the Track Changes. I leave the comments for later, cause the comments usually indicate more work than simply approving or rejecting the changes within the document itself.

Then it’s the hard yards of slogging through the comments.

This is where it can be ego-deflating if you let it. When I email my editors the manuscript, I ask for them to rip it apart. I’ve done three or four books with them now, so I know my soul isn’t going to be rent in two if Anna does tear it to pieces. The idea is to make it a better book, not to crush the author. Be brave. Know that your editor (who you thoroughly vetted and made sure was a good fit before you sent your work away) has your best interests at heart. They want you to succeed, so you’ll come back to them with another book.

Try your best to step back and look at the comments objectively. Some, like “hey, this comma doesn’t work in this spot, try it here,” aren’t going to deflate your ego too much, but others might. Take some time with these. Your editor hasn’t just put them in for fun. There’s a reason.

I usually go through and fix the easiest of the comments first, then take another pass to tackle the harder ones, and then another pass to wrangle the most difficult. At this stage, it usually takes about a week before I move on.

Stay tuned for what comes next – proofreading.

One response to “Getting your manuscript back”

  1. Thanks so much for this. I’m finally sitting on a manuscript that I feel could catch an agent’s eye. With this in mind I’ll be contacting my editor soon. I know what to expect from past experience but it helps to read reassurance like you’ve given us here. Thank you 🙂

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