ashes ➷
ashes ➷ asked A.G. Howard:

What are the most common changes made to your books after being sent to the editor?

A.G. Howard There are several steps to edits, and it's a steady back and forth between the editor and the author for a good six to seven months after the original manuscript is turned in. This is why it takes so long for a book to go to print.

First the author gets content edits, where the editor suggests things they think will improve the plot line, pacing, or character arcs. Note that these are suggestions. The author doesn't automatically have to do everything the editor asks. If the author feels very strongly about a story point and offers reasonable arguments while embracing some of the other suggestions, most publishers are willing to compromise.

The line edits come a few weeks after turning in the content edits. In these, the editor rewords sentences here and there for clarity, deletes some altogether, or offers different word choices. It's a more refined process, where you're looking at the words, not the story itself. Again, these are negotiable suggestions. Also, in this phase, if the book is longer than the publisher likes, they may ask the author to cut the length down.

Within a few weeks after line edits are turned back in, the author will receive copyedits. This is done by either a different in-house editor or a freelance copyeditor who checks for grammar, punctuation, and consistency and accuracy.

Once the author has approved these changes, they turn the story in for the last time as a manuscript. The next version they receive will be in PDF form, with the pages/words laid out like they will look in the book, complete with chapter headings and fancy font. These are final pass pages, where the author/editor team has one more chance to catch any typos that slipped by or make last minute changes before the PDF goes to print to become an advanced reader copy. Even after ARCs are printed, there's one last chance to make small edits before the book goes to its finalized paperback or hardback form.

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