Is Your Author Communicating?

February 1998
by Robin Quinn, Word for Word

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About two years ago, I spotted a book on a shelf at my local Barnes & Noble on a health topic that I had earlier noticed hadn’t yet been covered in a book. Because of my interest in self-care and alternative or what is also called complementary medicine, I quickly looked inside the book, decided to purchase it, and took it home. But later when I examined the book more closely over a cup of tea in my kitchen, I felt disappointed by it. Despite a promise early in the book to deliver information relevant to the reader, the author had failed to do just that. What I found instead was overly technical content that I had a hard time relating to my own health. I began to wonder why the publisher had gone to the trouble of producing such a book when the end result was sure to be dissatisfaction on the part of most readers. One of the values of a good editor is that they can spot such problems before a book goes to press. In my editorial work, I regularly deal with content issues. Has the author said what he or she intended to say? Has information been provided that will be relevant to the reader? Has the author developed the points that the reader will care about? Has the author eliminated material that may cause the reader’s mind to drift or perhaps even provoke the reader into tossing the book aside in frustration? Is it possible that the inaccessibility of the material may prevent publication or later sales?

Will the Reader “Get It”? Recently I was editing an inspirational book…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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