improvements you make to your manuscript under your editor’s guidance

What steps make up the revision process?

  1. Edit letter. Your editor will send you a list of big-picture changes s/he thinks you should make to your ms.
  2. Revisions. You turn in a revised draft, get more feedback from your editor, and repeat until your ms is good and strong.
  3. Line edits. Your editor will mark up your manuscript, focusing on line-level writing. You’ll make the necessary changes and return the draft.
  4. Copy edits. A copy editor will mark up your ms, focusing on typos, grammatical errors, unnecessary repetition, inconsistencies, etc. You’ll make the necessary changes and return the draft.
  5. First pass pages. A proof reader will go over a mock-up of your book’s pages, checking for any more typos or layout errors. You’ll also review the pages and point out necessary changes. Sometimes you’ll need to do second pass pages as well.
  6. ARCs. Your manuscript will be made into a paperback Advance Review Copy.


When will I start the process?

You will probably receive your edit letter about six months or so after signing your contract. This varies so, so widely.

How long will the process take?

Several months, once it gets started, depending on how quickly you and your editor both work. Often, revisions take longer than expected, either because you miss a deadline or because your editor is swamped with other work and can’t move the process along as planned. Very often, publication dates get pushed back. So don’t get too attached to your publication date!

What if I don’t like the revisions my editor suggests?

The revision process requires a lot of back and forth. Your editor needs to know when his/her suggestions are not in line with your vision, and you need to seek to understand why your editor is suggesting the changes s/he is suggesting. If you absolutely don’t agree with a suggestion, you don’t have to follow it. But as often as you can, try out the suggestions before you reject them. If things get really dicey, get your agent involved to smooth things over. This also goes for when you think your editor isn’t suggesting enough revisions, which can be disappointing when you feel there is more work to be done and you need more direction than you’re getting.