Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. With that said, I have not partnered with any of the authors or publishers for sponsorship. All recommendations and endorsements are based solely on my personal experiences.
As an author and freelance editor (book my services!), I’ve often been asked about my favorite editing books. I don’t necessarily reference these books every time I sit down to edit, but they definitely come in handy.
Whether I’m editing fantasy, horror, or another genre for my clients—or my own work, for that matter—I find myself coming back to these books. I’m sharing them in hopes you’ll find them useful too.
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE EDITING BOOKS
For anyone who wants to get better at line edits.
Line edits are my favorite stage of the editorial process. It also happens to be one of the most difficult. Luckily, books like this one help make everything easier. Although I bought this book expecting more help with developmental editing, I’m glad it’s an invaluable resource for at least one step in the editorial process.
For anyone looking to make big-picture edits.
Story structure may be naturally ingrained in human thinking, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get that across on paper. With decades of experience making good books great, Coyne offers spectacular insight on fiction editing and helps you lay out your story for literary success. This isn’t my favorite book because it can be intimidating, but I can definitely understand its value to other writers and editors.
For a comprehensive look at editing, geared toward those hoping for traditional publication.
I love this book because it covers almost all aspects of the revision process, with special tips for the first read-through. You'll focus on plot, characters, theme, voice, style, setting, and endings. The book also showcases innovative exercises to help you hone your craft.
For anyone who wants to write more books in less time, or get through first drafts faster.
This book is phenomenal because it helps you the words down faster, without sacrificing quality. She teaches you not only how to make your writing sessions more productive, but also how to plot if you hate plotting and edit if you hate editing. I LOVE THIS BOOK.
For anyone who wants to get more writing done in general.
Like the previous book, this one is chock full of tips and techniques for increasing your overall writing productivity. Fox also introduces the concept of the editing sprint, which involves working in focused bursts for short periods of time. Highly recommend.
No matter how much writing and editing experience you have, these books will provide a solid foundation for any author's editing toolkit. Of course, if you're dreading diving back into your manuscript to make the necessary changes... you can always hire an editor to do the dirty work for you. ;)