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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peer Reviews: Part of the Editing Process for BOTH Nonfiction and Fiction Writers

This little reminder post is one I was just putting together for my Sharing with Writers newsletter. Then it dawned on me that peer reviews are part of the editing process. Duhhh. Thought I should pass it on to readers of The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor. (-:

Let's Talk Peer Reviews . . .
When many of us write nonfiction, we do peer reviews. Some of us are fully cognizant of what we are doing. Others, not so. For them it is just a process that is helpful but not fully realized or fully understood.

Getting peer reviews is that process of submitting your book to experts in the field to ask for input before it is published. The process is valued mostly for gleaning expert opinion on your work--what you might have omitted or what you might expect from readers who don't agree with you. That kind of thing.

Most writers who do it miss a couple of vital elements of a peer review that Susan C. Daffron mentions in her front page article for Span Connection (Nov. 2008) and that is that the author will find more peers willing to help if he or she is asked to review only a chapter rather than a whole book and that this process might well contribute to the sometimes daunting process of gleaning absolutely great endorsements/testimonials for the cover (and other promotion purposes) of the finished book.

And, as I was reading it, it occured this is a process that can tailored only slightly to benefit writers of so-called hard-to-promote fiction, poetry and memoirs. Experts come in all stripes. They can be editors, teachers, authors of similar genres, and on and on. In other words, the peer review process can work well for any author not only in writing of a book but in its editing and its promotion. It's only a matter of giving it consideration and blocking out a period of time in the writing process to let it work for you.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults and speaks on issues of publishing. Find her The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success at Learn more about her other authors' aids at, where writes will find lists and other helps on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her Sharing with Writers blog.

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