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Story shapers: What book editors want you to know

Six editors share what they’re looking for, what they’re publishing, and what authors should know about the industry.

what book editors want

For years now, I’ve been wanting to make a T-shirt that reads, “Be the writer your editor thinks you are.” I’ve been fortunate to have smart, insightful editors in my life who offer candid feedback on my manuscript drafts and inspire me to delve more deeply into subject matter and craft. Without their guidance and their passion for story, I’d be a lesser writer for sure. I’ve learned that book editors aren’t out to get you. They’re looking to fall in love with a story – and then help the author make it the best it can possibly be.

For this article, I spoke by phone with several book editors across the country to offer readers a sense of their particular interests, their process of working with authors, and their perspectives on writing and publishing. Some of the editors focus on commercial fiction; some deliberately look for books overlooked by mainstream publishing. Some prefer romance, some like pop culture, and some are devoted to literary fiction. All are committed to helping their clients to become the best writers possible.

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