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3 Things My Children’s Book Content Editor Taught Me

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Why do you need a content editor?

A content editor’s role is to help the author edit the book for readability.

In other words, your content editor will help turn your work into a book that your audience would want to buy. Remember, content editing is not proofreading. It is more concerned with how the reader will react to your words. Your content editor will pay attention to your voice, the tone of your writing, and the overall flow of your book.

Here are 3 valuable things my content editor taught me.

1. Don’t say it if you can see it

Instead of describing what you can see, focus on building up your character’s voice and personality.

For example, instead of using “He had curly hair,” you could say, “He walked in, wearing his old jeans and a vintage yellow T-shirt, with his long brown curly hair falling on his shoulders.”

This would add layers of depth to your story rather than just describing objects and characters.

Watch this helpful video by Diane Callahan. 

2. Balance between your content editor’s edits and your own vision for the book

I did take some time to digest the edits made.

My content editor had warned me not to be alarmed by the significant revisions. But she also reminded me it was the job of the author to decide how much or how little I would use of her amendments.

What helped me decide was reading the book again to my daughter and watching her reactions. I also came up with my own questions, including:

      • Would the changes made change my vision for the book?

      • Would my child like the book better after the changes?

    • Does the story indeed read and flow better?
    Credit: Photo by Andrew Neel from Unsplash

    Of course, if there are edits you don’t understand or need more explanation, do check back with your content editor on his or her reasons for making those changes.

    “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”— C.S LewisTweet

    3. Work with your illustrator

    Be open to your illustrator’s ideas ?.

    That’s what my content editor told me as most authors she came across had certain fixed ideas of how their book should look like. Though it’s not wrong to have your own ideas, have an open conversation with your illustrator on how your ideas can be improved on.

    For example, my illustrator chose to draw a scene outdoors rather than indoors. That really helped as young readers had trouble distinguishing between day and night in the book.

    TLDR: Trust your illustrator. Most of the time, you will be pleasantly surprised by their creativity if you give them the opportunity to visualise the text on their own.

    I certainly was! Will share my experiences in the next post.

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    Credit: Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

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