Surreal writer

The Book Editing Process: Ensuring the Readability of Your Book

By Jennifer Joplinn

Book writers don’t get to relax  after finishing their books. That is the sad truth in any writing activity, especially in book writing. From crafting a proposal to editing the book content, it is a big responsibility that not all writers can handle.

But editing plays an important role in any type of writing, academic or professional. Without it, readers will find it hard to understand the message in a piece of writing. Instead, confusion will arise and worst of all, the book or piece of writing won’t be published. So book editing is an important process that all writers should embrace before delivering their manuscripts to book publishers.

The Book Editing Process

At the beginning of the book editing process, writers have the option to let a book editor who provides professional editing assistance, do the work for them. While most writers gravitate toward this idea, others prefer to do the work themselves in an effort to keep the editing fee. However, hiring a professional editor is the best option as editing your own work may deteriorate the quality of the manuscript rather than making it better, which professionals can accomplish with their experience and understanding of the book editing process.

1. Formatting the manuscript for editing

In the process of book editing, most editors start by formatting the manuscript. They do this in a certain way by changing the manuscript’s font size, spacing and font type. Breaking the file into smaller files is also possible and is a way to thoroughly manage editing the manuscript.

2. Style sheets come in handy

Style sheets are book editors’ best friends during this time. Style sheets contain various notes from spelling styles, punctuation, general style as well as author idiosyncrasies.

3. Line-by-line editing

The real work begins with book editor’s line-by-line editing of the manuscript. With Microsoft Word’s “Track Changes” tool and style sheets at hand, book editors start making changes and comments on the manuscript, reading it slowly. Some editors do only a read-through while others read it twice to check for spellings errors, sentence fluency and grammar.

4. Last editing touches

For the final touches, book editors go back to the parts they haven’t thoroughly checked or aren’t sure about and make retrospective changes. There are cases when, upon searching for the right or acceptable spelling of a word, a book editor will go back and check all sentences with such words to ensure consistency.

5. Notes for the author

Leaving notes for the author isn’t expected but doing so is a great opportunity to develop a professional relationship between author and editor.

The book editing process is complex and tedious. It takes patience and dedication to do this work. Editors are truly the unsung heroes of this world! They take this responsibility upon their shoulders for the benefit of the readers.



Jennifer Joplinn is a Principal Research Associate in a company offering professional editing assistance. She aspires to be a self-help book author someday.  She’s using every single day of her life on fulfilling that dream that she wishes would really come true.