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The Editorial Letter Explained


Photo credit: Bing Ramos (Creative Commons)

Many of my friends and co-workers have been asking me why is it taking so long for my book to come out. Why does it take over a year to hit the shelves? Why can’t we just buy it now!?!

There are actually a lot of reasons for this, but the most important reason is the book must go through several rounds of professional editing. Sure, when my editor bought GILDED, my agent and I worked on it to be in the best possible shape. But there is nothing that can replace a good editor who can take what I’ve written to the next level.

So before I got my letter, there was a level of anxiety and excitement. What will my editor ask me to change? Will I agree with her suggestions? Will I be able to actually do what she wants me to accomplish? Yeah, panic that looks something like this:


Credit: tumblr: hautestofbois

The first stage in this whole book publishing process is my editor sent me what is called an editorial letter. These can range in length from 1-50 pages, depending on the editor and the shape the manuscript is already in. They also can range in style from editor to editor.

For instance, some editors prefer general overarching themes to tackle and allow the author room to determine how to fix those issues. While other editors may be more specific and perhaps even get into line comments in this first stage.

In my case, my editor sent me via email a letter that highlighted the general overarching issues of GILDED. She posed questions and pointed to areas where the characters could be more developed and asked for me to flesh out some of the world building.

 writing is hard

From her suggestions, I created a plan on how I would tackle each of the problematic areas of the book. Later this week, I’ll do a break-down for you on how I did this more specifically.

As far as how a writer will receive their editorial letter, some authors receive theirs in the mail while other’s receive it via email, depending on the editor’s preference.

I’m planning on doing some posts on each stage of the publishing process, so if you have any questions, feel free to post them below.

13 Responses to The Editorial Letter Explained

  1. Bish Denham says:

    I’m definitely looking forward to reading about this process!

  2. […] editorial letters: Author Christina Farley, author of the 2014 release GILDED, is starting a series of posts on each stage of the publishing […]

  3. Claudia cane says:

    I love that you posted this. My agent has my first revisions now so I’m waiting on her reactions but I’m already terrified of the next stage – editorial revisions. What will they want me to change? Will I be able to do it? What if I disagree? How do you know when to listen to the experts and when to go with your gut?

    Thank you for sharing;)


  4. KatieClark says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing how things go for you. I am awaiting my first editorial letter on my upcoming YA, Vanquished, so I look forward to seeing what might happen each step of the way :).

    • Katie- Congratulations and I love the title Vanquished. I’m excited to share my thoughts on the process but I also have some writing friends who also are going to share tips as well for you guys. It’s going to be awesome!

  5. Mirka Breen says:

    My first editor left , and my second, after saying some nice things about the first, wanted to start the process from, ahm, scratch. The result? Five rounds of edits total. A published book isn’t made in a day.
    Glad you will outline the process here, on your blog.

  6. […] process. Today, I want to share how I tackled my editorial letter. As I mentioned here in this post, editorial letters are all different in some way, but essentially they have the writer revamping […]

  7. […] 1. What is an editorial letter? […]

  8. […] The editorial letter explained. […]

  9. Many people do wonder why it takes a book so long to come out. The editorial letter and other parts of the process make books shine. Great post.

  10. […] can go here for an explanation of the editorial […]

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