Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Excellent Editorial Insight for Every Author

In a world with traditional publishers cutting back on editors and editing combined with the explosion of self-publishing, where "anyone" can write a book and get it into the market, Stacy Ennis has written a timely book for every writer which touts a missing detail in many books: every book needs an editor. 

In the second chapter, Ennis explains why every writer needs to read THE EDITOR'S EYE saying, "The relationship you have with an editor can be the most important element of your book-writing experience. In our ever-disconnected (or virtually over-connected) society, "relationship" seems to be the overused catchphrase plastered across billboards, websites, buses, and television commercials. But in the craft of writing and the business of publishing, the word is a perfect description for the connection between writers and editors. This relationship is the cornerstone of the writing and editing process….With that in mind, here's my formula for success: compelling and relevant story + skilled editor + good author-editor relationship = great book. It's that simple." (Page 20)

After writing more than 60 books for traditional publishers and working with hundreds of authors on their books for publishers, the wisdom of her words leaps out of every page of this book. She details the entire editorial process. And Ennis helps writers understand the importance of each type of editing--developmental, substantive (content), copyediting and proofreading. Her tips and insights into the editorial process are excellent and will help many people. For example in Chapter Five on Hiring and Working with an Editor, Ennis covers three reasons for why: 1) An editor can sharpen your writing and ideas. 2) An editor can save you time and money. 3) An editor can help you do your book right the first time.

In addition to her own insights, Ennis includes interviews with other publishing professionals in the final pages of each chapter. Finally the appendix includes several valuable forms: Manuscript Review Form, Editing Checklist, Sample Letter of Agreement and Sample Style Guide. These resources are free for the reader to download and use repeatedly as a valuable resource.

From my review, I hope it is clear that I love this book and believe it is a valuable addition to the publishing community. So why did I give it four stars and not five stars?

THE EDITOR'S EYE has a strange, ugly and unprofessional cover. Throughout my reading I wondered why take such a wonderful book and wrap it in such an unattractive package. Cover design is a key element and sells many books. The copyright page (which most people don't read) gave me the answer when it said, "Cover Design by Stacy Ennis." How ironic in a book which encourages writers to be excellent and hire outside help to produce excellence--the author designed her own cover. Thankfully most books are spine out on our bookshelves so you don't have to see it. 

I applaud Ennis and her excellent work on crafting THE EDITOR'S EYE. I believe it will be a valuable resource for many writers in the publishing world and hope it will become a classic. I recommend this book.

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