Sara Foster writes: Since leaving my job at HarperCollins UK back in 2002, while I worked on my writing in my spare time, I made my living as a book editor. I have edited well over a hundred books, and I haven’t yet met one that didn’t need the helping hand of an editor, no matter what the genre or how successful and well-regarded the author might be. In fact, sometimes I’ve looked at books of very high-profile authors and seen some glaring problems, which makes me wonder if the writers have become too assertive or the editor too frightened. Either can derail the process. Editing is a somewhat mystifying and complex procedure to new writers, but it boils down to three or four major steps – structural, line and copy-editing, followed by proofreading. These slowly move from assessing the work as a whole, studying broad concepts like plot development, narrative pace, and characters’ strengths and weaknesses, through to more and more detailed analyses of writing and structure. By the time the book is proofread it is hoped you need only to catch the final errors of spelling, grammar and typesetting. When writing for publication, the more familiar you can become with the concept and processes of editing, the more it will help you as a writer.  If you can start to look at your script with an editorial eye, by the time you present your work to agents and publishers it will be much more finely polished. The writers’ centres in each state are a good starting point for finding editing courses or hiring experienced editors. Please be careful when paying out money – compare rates and credentials, and remember that this work comes with no guarantee of publication. Just as happened with Come Back to Me, I am finding the editing process of Beneath the Shadows is transforming my book, and although it’s hard work it’s a very exciting stage. After writing in isolation for so long, it’s also a relief to be able to discuss the book with other people, get their input, and assess how best to use it. An author always has the final say, but savvy writers know that their editor is there to help them, and by really embracing the process you can get the most out of it.