Summer ’23: Insights into the Life of a Fiction Editor

Book open on the beach by the ocean

Welcome to my new series of articles, where I give you a peek into the life of a fiction editor and book coach, such as the editorial projects I worked on, the craft books I read, the writing podcasts I listened to, or the craft events I attended.

Here’s a small glimpse of how my summer went!

What I Worked On: A Glimpse

This summer (July and August), I wanted to focus on my projects, so I didn’t take any client work.

Along with my editing business, I’m also a writer and have several WIPs. I worked on the first draft of a new novel and reflected on an outline of another project. It felt good to be able to focus more deeply on my writing than I normally can.

I was able to spend some time on business development and the SEO of my website. While there’s still a lot to be done (does it ever end?), I was able to make some good improvements.

Social media is an area I constantly fall behind, and this summer I worked on creating a substantial batch of content, which I can easily schedule and publish this Fall. We’ll see how that goes.

Of course, I also took some time off and enjoyed some summerly outings :).

What I Read: A Selection

Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing by Larry Brooks

I was reminded of the key principles of Larry’s teaching. It’s packed with useful advice for writers and is a book I’d generally recommend if you can get past the long justifications of why you should apply his concepts (sometimes we need to get to the point).

Marketing Your Editing & Proofreading Business by Louise Harnby

This book has been recommended by my community of editors and it’s a real gem! If you’re an editor, book coach, or proofreader, you’ll find it useful as it contains tons of practical, actionable advice on marketing. This book has helped me think about various avenues I hadn’t considered or how I could strengthen some activities I’m already doing. And you should absolutely check out Louise’s blog, which is packed with information for writers and editors!

How to Market a Book: Overperform in a Crowded Market by Ricardo Fayet

This is a great starter guide for anyone wishing to self-publish a book and is written by one of Reedsy‘s founders. This book will be useful for anyone starting on their journey and it is on Kindle Unlimited.

What I Attended: An Overview

Find Your Readers organized by Daniel David Wallace.

Daniel organizes three events per year, which are packed with amazing sessions and speakers. One is focused on plotting, another on the writing process and mindset, and the third on finding readers (marketing). This one was very good, and I attended sessions such as, “Bookfunnel: Build your newsletter list”, “Automated Book Marketing”, “Starting an Author Newsletter”, “Pitching Podcasts”, and more.

Any author who is starting should try and start a newsletter as early as possible. Collecting email addresses is paramount in any marketing effort.

Writing Romance Mastery Summit organized by Paula Judith Johnson.

This was my first event by Paula and while I couldn’t attend too many sessions, I particularly wanted to hear from Janice Hardy on “Character and Conflicts” as well as Jessica Snyder on “Deep POV”.

Janice said that the central conflict is whatever lesson the main character needs to learn. In a romance, that might mean whatever trauma and baggage is keeping the main character from finding love.  You might want to check her blog, packed with amazing information.

What I Received: Testimonials

Latest testimonials I received (thank you, lovely authors!):

“Sarah helped me bring structure and made me think of the audience my book/s are aimed for. Her recommendations made my story better. Although we are on the other side of the world from each other, our face-to-face meetings were well organised and beneficial. I recommend Sarah to others.” (Kim D., YA Fantasy author – Book coaching)

“I have collaborated with Sarah now for 2 months with the one-on-one coaching. I have felt confident in my abilities as a writer by her positive and constructive input! I love the goal-setting and meeting deadlines. It creates a better space to make time for what is important to me, which is writing! Looking forward to continuing the one-on-ones for the remaining scene left of my first draft.” (Sara K., Fantasy Romance author – Book coaching)

“Sarah was great to work with! She was very empathetic and knowledgeable. She was able to pinpoint exact problems in my manuscript that I only had intuitive feelings about. I would recommend her to anyone.” (Claire D., Fantasy author – Manuscript Assessment)

What I Published: A Selection

Some recent articles I published on my blog:

Top 10 Tropes in YA Fantasy and Sci-Fi and How to Use Them

6 Signs You’re Ready to Write a Novel

Empower Your Writing: Get Feedback and Support with Critique Partners and Beta Readers

If you like this kind of more personal article, send me a message, and let me know! You might also want to sign up for my newsletter, Plume Insights, for more sneak peeks into the life of an editor as well as writing and editing tips.

Plume Editorial

Plume Editorial

Plume Editorial provides developmental editing, editorial assessment, and book coaching services. Sarah specializes in young adult (YA) and adult fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and mystery. She has a decade of experience in content creation, writing, and publishing, and is also an editor on the highly selective platform Reedsy. Visit:

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