June 13, 2018


By Rae Bittle, Managing Editor WATERmark Studio & Publishing

CONGRATULATIONS! You have accomplished your goal — to complete your manuscript. But wait . . . not so fast!

If your goal is to get your manuscript book-ready, represented by an agent, and published — keep reading.

Bittle/ Novel Approach  At this point, your document is NOT ready for a professional edit until you are certain you can present the best possible version of it to an agent. Let it breathe — exhale — for several weeks. Understand your manuscript has become as close and familiar to you as your nose is to your eyes. Now, read it again, take notes and flag what now becomes glaring to your fresh set of eyes. REWRITE the manuscript at least once, maybe twice. Now, the editorial process begins — a necessity to turn your document into a manuscript ready for an agent’s eyes and publication. Only when you have taken it as far as you can, will you get the most for your money in hiring a freelance editor. Professional editors are NOT all things to all authors or their work.

Understanding the editorial process and services, which includes three customary editorial phases, will take you a long way in this journey. Before you meet with and hire an editor, you need to know what kind of help you need.
· Manuscript or copy editing and proofreading are about fixing errors. Copy editing and proofreading are separate line items.
· Are you looking for developmental editing — “big-picture” feedback about structure, style, pacing and voice?
· Line edits point out specific things, which do not fit or work, from a reader’s perspective. Going a step further . . . 

Bittle/Novel Approach  At WaterMark Studio & Publishing, we use an enhanced editing stage, which can preempt or add another editing step, depending on the storyline complexity. This technique leaves no stone unturned — “Beginning with the End in Mind.” Our approach starts with reading the last chapter first, undressing the table of contents, and a thorough read of the manuscript. This focus slants on traveling the TOC route to ensure you transport me — your first, unbiased reader — to the promised story ending. This approach facilitates the editing review and furthers content development toward producing a complete, final manuscript. Collaborating with an editor sheds new light on your work — making it possible for you to see it from angles you have never imagined, capitalize on your manuscript’s strengths and root out problems that might earn you a rejection letter from your dream agent. Hiring a freelance editor is a significant financial investment — one that can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand, depending upon the kinds of editing you require, the editor’s rate and the number of revisions/rounds of editing. As your editor, I want you to get the most out of your money. I want to leave you feeling enlightened, empowered and excited to be putting your book out into the world. I love writing, and I love writers. I am also a writer. Nevertheless, some of what you need to know to best utilize any professional editor can be difficult to hear. I have been there, too. So, before you hire someone like me, it is only right that you know the following:
 1. Prepare for feedback, criticism and direction.
 2. Revision takes time.

Bittle/ Novel Approach It is a waste of time and money to hire someone to copy edit your book before you have addressed developmental and line edits. I get you. I can relate to your passion as a writer, nurturing your work, your aspiration, and yes, your fear of birthing and letting go of the “baby” you have carried for so long. Your writing is, after all, the sum of your energy, time, work and heart. You come to editors with enthusiasm and passion—qualities you indeed need in order to survive and persevere in this profession—and we [editors] worry unloading too many difficult truths at once may dampen your enthusiasm or intimidate you.

Question, “Do you only want to publish this book, or do you also want to learn how to write better?” There is a difference between the two. Let’s answer this question together.
In 2000, Rae Bittle founded WATERmark Studio and Publishing, a full-service marketing communications firm operating from Houston, Texas with a global reach. Today, the company’s reach spans national and global industries and markets. In addition to owner and management responsibilities, she serves as Managing Editor, directing creative and editorial projects and business development. Rae studied Journalism and Public Relations at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, and later advanced to manage communication roles in Fortune 500 companies, various industry segments and government. Devoted to her passion for writing and editing, Rae continues to work with many authors as editor, publisher and editorial consultant. Online portfolio is available at . “I love writing, and I love writers. I am also a writer. I enjoy movies, home staging and interior design, reading and photography . . . living life like its golden keeps me alive.” For more information, and to discuss your editorial needs, please contact Rae Bittle at

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