What does a book development editor do?
Professionally assess your manuscript or book concept for its publishing potential
Offer critical feedback and editorial guidance
Serve as writing coach as the author completes a manuscript
Collaborate in the development of a winning book proposal
Position and package the book concept to specific publishers
Research what publishers are looking for in the current market
Conduct market research on target audience and how to reach your readers
Identify competitive titles in the current marketplace of ideas
Create a marketing strategy and assist in building an audience platform
Provide guidance in the business of publishing
A book development editor functions as:
* An advocate for an author and his or her work
* A midwife who assists with the birth of a writing project
* A reminder who keeps the author on track if things begin to slip
* An editor for that last push before submission
* A critic who will tell authors what they need to hear in order to improve
* A matchmaker who knows the exact editors for an author’s type of writing
* A negotiator who will fight to get the best deal for an author
* A mediator who can step in between author and publisher to fix problems
* A reality check if an author gets out of sync with the real world
* A liaison between the publishing community and the author
* A champion for your work
* A focal point for subsidiary, foreign and dramatic rights
* A mentor who will assist in developing an author’s career
* A rainmaker who can get additional writing work for an author
* A career coach for all aspects of your writing future
* An educator about changes in the publishing industry
* A manager of the business side of your writing life
A book development editor is NOT an agent, which means s/he does not work on commission of the sale of your intellectual property. The book development editor charges you for professional services; and the fees may vary according to the type of service you contract for. Your editor is not compensated by agents or publishers for referrals.
A book development editor is NOT a publisher and discourages most authors from self-publishing. While self-publishing and e-books have their place—wedding albums, company histories, scrapbooks, family stories, gift books, church directories, cookbooks—the bulk of self-publishing initiatives are poor investments. These ventures usually take more money from authors in publishing fees than they generate in book sales.
A book development editor IS an editor and someone the author hires—often before the manuscript is completed—to provide editorial support, advice, and guidance. The development editor tells that writer what works, what doesn’t, what needs to happen and how to do it. A writer hires a developmental editor to deliver the truth and to provide options for making the book come to life.
Many book development editors specialize in genres (fiction or non-fiction), even subgenres, and they do not accept all clients for their services. A book development editor usually has particular areas of expertise with a particular network of agents and publishers. A book development editor maintains professional relations with these agents and publishers, and knows what they are looking for in new material.
Many publishers are delighted to know the author has invested in a developmental editor. It implies the author will be able to deliver a manuscript according to stylistic and digital submission requirements in a timely fashion, build an audience platform using social media prior to book launch and has someone to assist with the stresses, complexities and demands of publication, marketing and sales.
If you are serious about publishing your non-fiction book manuscript and don’t want to be rejected or scammed, then a book development editor may be what you need. Let Swenson Book Development, LLC help you navigate the headwaters of the publishing industry in these turbulent times.
One thought on “What does a book development editor do for an author?”
Jill, thank you for playing all these roles for me. You are the midwife for my creative bookchild.