Is your book a “good book” – or just a piece of writing?

How does an editor, a publisher, or a reader decide that a book is worth reading? The answer determines what gets into print and what sells.

If you’re an author, here are some tough questions that you need to deal with.

  • Is this a “good” book; does it have potential?
  • Does the book have a clearly defined audience and focus?
  • Is the book original and fresh?

Is this a good book, does it have potential?

The first issue an editor faces is also the most basic. Can the author write “good” English? This includes the mechanics of grammar, spelling, punctuation. Has the author proofread the work and made all necessary corrections? Of is this actually just a rough draft, filled with typos and poor sentence structure? These easy-to-fix issues can stop an editor cold, and your book ends up in a pile with all the other “also rans”.

Next, an editor looks for how well you write. Was the work just thrown together from various ideas and sources? Or was there a designed plot-line or an organized outline? Serious writers take the time to plan the book, just as a serious home-builder works from a set of blueprints. Have you removed all the filler words and sentences – items that slow down a reader? It’s easy to spot a polished copy versus a first draft.

Does the book have a clearly defined audience and focus?

Is your book being written for a target audience? Are you writing for a specific category of reader? Or are you writing this just because? There’s an obvious difference here in resulting sales.

Is your writing style appropriate for your audience? Does it suit your book if it’s a novel, a short story, a children’s book, non-fiction, etc.? One good way to find out is read lots of book the genre you’re trying to get into. One thing to be aware of: Is your style consistent and smooth?

Equally important, does you book have a focus, and does it stick to it? Too many books start off with a theme and then the writer goes off track and adds a lot of superfluous material. One of the most cogent comments on this was stated by Peter Jackson, producer of the Lord of the Rings movie series. His challenge was to tell the very long J.R.R. Tolkien story in as few hours of movie-time as possible, to meet a budget that made sense. The result was that he and the other writers had to remove from the original book all the little side stories, and stick with the straight line of getting the Ring back to Mount Doom. What a wonderful inciteful concept.

Is the book original and fresh?

With so many books published each year, how does an editor or publisher know how to pick and choose? One way is to look for a writing style that literate, clear, contemporary, energetic, and exciting to read. Sure, all those qualities might not be appropriate for your book, but you get the idea.

Other qualities to think about include: is your text lively, witty, full of action? Does your writing demonstrate a flair for words and use of the language? Do you have an interesting way of writing that makes a reader want to read more? Do you have a new or different point of view? Are your facts well researched and verifiable, even if they’re just for background material?


Finally, an editor will review the overall content and ask: How about relevancy? Do you have something original to say? Will the book be timely when it finally gets to print? Bottom line, is this a good book or is this something that would be better tailored and placed in a magazine or made into a pamphlet?

Copyright 2017 by Affordable Editing Services

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