If you’ve ever edited a book, you’ve heard about book reviews, book blurbs, and book club posts. But what if that isn’t your thing? If it wasn’t a popular feature, and you’re a pretty picky person, these don’t sound appealing to you. So what about a whole book?
Then, you’ve got your choice between full book edits – like going over every sentence and paragraph, correcting and editing every word, and even changing parts depending on your mood – or just a few pages – like what’s often called “tactile edits.” These are all part of what’s called the “literary editing” process, which is the one I use for novels.
But where do I start editing a book? And how do I go about it?
Well, the very first thing you’ll have to do – if you’re a new writer trying to get into literary editing – is pick a book. I’ll give you a few more books – all very good at the time – which will be your guides in the general subject matter.
Then the next task is to make sure that you have a solid understanding of how many pages those pages are intended to be. In my own case, it will be, in essence, four-hundred and eighty-two, unless the book was written in the seventies. Then it’s four thousand. Then two thousand. It depends on the length. In other words, if you’re a writer trying to learn about books and the craft of writing, it is a good idea to make sure you know at least two hundred and fifty or two hundred thirty pages.
Here are a few good lists you can check for your books. They should be relatively short. For instance, some of the best books you can easily find are about a few paragraphs or chapters (say, a hundred and forty-nine pages or so, or a couple of lines). You’ll want to check out those; you’ll find others that are considerably shorter. It’s worth it!
In the book, you’ll also want to know a little about your subject matter. I can’t tell you everything here, so be sure there is a good description of your work in that book. If everything has been said, then it will all come in handy later on the editing process.
Let’s make sure we’re still on the right track. After that’s done, it’s on to the nitty gritty. I’ve