Is the role of a book editor still relevant?

A simple answer to the question would be that yes, it is essential that an editor corrects and guides any work of fiction or non-fiction.

Then why do we see more and more often books full of grammatical errors, nonsense action and characters with no credibility? Because things have changed in the last 50 years and continue to do so.

In the past, the role of the editor was twofold. In addition to the analysis and structuring of the work, he/she had to maintain a close connection with the author, to suggest sequels for novels if necessary, new ideas depending on the public’s responses. The job was more about the manuscript and less about the marketing and sales strategy. Because the number of people in the writing business was much lower, and the books took longer to see the light of day. Or windows’ light in bookstores.

Meanwhile, the role of the editor has branched out.

With the Internet and the electronic format of any type of manuscript, the number of those who chose writing as a profession or those who write out of pure passion has increased dizzyingly. The number of editors has also increased, but not at the same rate. Anyone can handle writing, editing, not so much.

The result was a faster analysis of the manuscripts, a superficial correction and a weak plot or character guidance. Editors can no longer afford to waste much time analyzing each work in depth when they are assaulted by hundreds of manuscripts. The sales of the publishing houses also depend on the number of books published, not only on their quality, so everything was quickly put forward. An acceptable written book, on a topic with a wide audience, is fast analyzed and put up for sale quickly. The editors discovered that they now have to keep in touch with the author, but also with the entire marketing and sales department of the publishing house. Manuscript choices and changes within the book must take into account market buying trends. Which topics make sales in a certain period, in a particular country, continent, seasonal sales and so on.

Understanding marketing strategies and putting them into practice led to faster sales growth but weakened product quality. This does not mean that all published books are poor or irrelevant, or that all publishers place a higher value on marketing than on the quality of the finished product. But the differences exist and are visible to any eye trained in writing.

If you are among the young authors looking to launch their book, of any kind, it is necessary to take into account the opinion of n editor. Does it cost? Sure it does. It is a service implying someone sharing his/her experience with you and guidance in all seriousness towards improvement. And a quality product will always sell better than one with poor quality.

Not all manuscripts sent to editors are masterpieces. Some have a good idea but are unattractively written. Others are well written, but the subject is dusty or ultra used. The work of the editor becomes more difficult and the adjustments that the writer has to make on the work, quite large. This is where the trust and the relationship between the author and the publisher come into play.

I would like to mention one more thing that clarifies one of the authors’ fears. The moment someone submits the manuscript to a publishing house for evaluation, the paper is safe. No one will copy-paste it and publish it under another title and another author’s name. The proof is the e-mail sent by the author to the publishing house. Proof of who originally wrote the work and who owns its copyright.

The fact that while you are waiting for an answer from the publishing house, someone else, in another corner of the world, publishes something similar, is pure coincidence. Nobody sold you the idea. It is due to the same fact mentioned above. The huge number of people who write and publish daily.

If you are an author and need support and guidance, writing or the sales process advice, do not hesitate to write to us. We will evaluate your work with you, in all seriousness. Use the SUBMIT button at the top of the page with confidence.

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