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Writers and Their Editors

The editing process – a stage that can be just as infuriating as it is essential. In these blog posts, you can find out why a good editor is so important in creating a good book, as well as tips on the level of editing that's right for you.

The Process of Publishing and Editing the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2017

Between the months of January and April every year, I live and breathe all things Writers & Artists (and in reality at other times too), but for the first half of every year I’m deeply immersed in ‘creating’ the new editions of both Yearbooks. It’s an intense and fast-paced process and involves a collective of editorial, design, technical and production know-how and co-operation. We’ve got it down to function as a (fairly!) well-oiled machine, and (unless the wheels fall off at any stage), it pans out something like this.


In fact before the start of the year, I gather the three listings editors and the articles editor of both Yearbooks together over a publisher’s lunch (an essential kick-off to each new edition), to talk through the trends and the ups and downs of the publishing world since the previous edition was published (they appear every July) and how these will affect the layout, content and editorial judgments we make for the next one. We discuss …

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Editing and the Invisible Gorilla

Your book is now complete. You tell yourself that it is a masterpiece. So, why on earth do you need an editor? Isn’t that overkill? Surely the editor will only pick holes in your work and, possibly, expect you to rewrite whole sections?

I would like to show you why an editor is a critical part of the end-to-end process of producing a book and I would like to demonstrate why by citing the case of the Invisible Gorilla.

The Invisible Gorilla refers to an experiment that was run by two academics, Simons & Chabris, at Harvard University in 1999. This can be found on their website and is called the Original Selective Attention task. A group of individuals were asked to look at a video and count the number of passes that the basketball players, dressed in white, made to each other during the clip. Only at the end were they asked whether anyone had seen the gorilla. Surely, you think, the participants would see something that obvious. But, …

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Writers' & Artists' Services - Full Manuscript Review

This is Cressida Downing’s last blog on Writers’ & Artists’ editorial services.  This week she focuses on the Full Manuscript Review.

What do you need to do?  

Supply the full manuscript of your novel, and a two page synopsis.  

What do you get out of it?

A line by line edit of half your manuscript – provided to you in two documents, one with all the changes tracked, and one a clean copy.  A small summary of why the editor has taken those editorial choices, and suggestions for implementing any minor changes.

Who is looking at your work?

An experienced editor who understands the genre you’re writing in.

What’s unique about this service?

Rather than a straight copy or line edit, this provides you with a unique insight into how an editor would approach your work, giving you valuable information on how to approach your text in the future and identifying common mistakes that you as an author are prone to.

Top tip:

The cost of this …

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Writers' & Artists' Services - Midway Review

This is Cressida Downing’s penultimate blog on Writers’ & Artists’ editorial services.  This week she focuses on the Midway Review.  Watch out for her tips for all authors, too

What is the service?

So, you’ve finished your novel, done some preliminary editing… but have no idea if the book hangs together as a whole, or what level you’re writing at.  This is where the Midway Review service comes into play.  

All you need to do is send in a two page synopsis, and the main bulk of your novel (from around 55-65,000 words).

What do you get out of it?

Within three weeks you get a 5-10 page report that will comprehensively examine your style, characterization, submission techniques, and also how the plot develops throughout the whole novel.

After you’ve received the report, you can then book in a 30 minute call with your editor to go over things and ask further questions that have arisen as a result of the feedback you’ve …

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Writers' & Artists' Services - First Draft Review

In the second of her four-part series giving you the inside track on Writers’ & Artists’ editorial services (with a few handy writing tips thrown in along the way), Cressida Downing discusses the First Draft Review.

Cressida Downing

What is the service?  

The First Draft Review is for those of you who’ve written your first draft and, before you take it to the next level, you want to get an idea if you’re on the right track.  Or, for the right matter, any track at all!  

This service requires you to submit a synopsis and the first 12-32,000 words of your novel, with the price varying according to the overall word count.

What do you get out of it?

You get a 3-5 page report within three weeks that will comprehensively examine your style, characterization, submission techniques, and also feedback about how your plot develops.

After you’ve received the report, you can then book in a 30-minute call with your editor, who will go over their report and answer any further questions you …

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