Nonfiction Book Award Status: GOLD


Read this book before you publish your book. 

You just wrote your first book. And there you are. Stark naked. Vulnerable. Wondering what to do next to get your masterpiece published. 

Cover to Cover is the one book you need to read and follow if you’re writing a book for the first time (or the tenth) 

To write a successful book, you need to find and work with an editor who shares your passion for your work and your message and who will help you make your book sing. And sing a smash hit. A blockbuster of a message, clearly and carefully constructed so readers love you and your work and leave you five-star Amazon reviews only because they don’t have more stars to give. 

This is a toolkit for tinkering under the hood of your working manuscript so you, the author, can take your work as far as you can before an edit and production such as cover design and not dump a half-baked chocolate cake on some poor schlub of an editor to “fix.” 

Don’t make first-time author mistakes. No matter what you think, you do need an edit. Not the English teacher next door. You can’t self-edit either. A professional editor knows how to navigate those thorny commas and can solve your organizational questions. An editor can guide you through the murky waters of modifiers and passive sentences, correct typos, and get your book manuscript polished and on its way to production. 

Even if you slept through English class, never turned in book reports, and don’t know a thing about publishing the book of your dreams, your name is on the cover and you don’t want to be embarrassed. Turn your vulnerability into confidence with these insider secrets to publishing success when working with an editor. 

No, this is not a grammar book (ick) or a guide to self-editing (can’t be done well). This is not a dry, boring book about usage or sentence structure.  

Although the author, a veteran nonfiction editor, specializes in memoir, true crime, business/leadership, and self-help, her advice holds true for fiction writers as well.  

Get your questions answered (and more): 

  • Why do I need an editor? How do I find an editor? What do editors do? And how much do they cost? 
  • What are the levels of edit? Developmental? Line edit? Copy edit? Proofreading? How do I know what level of editing my manuscript needs?  
  • Will an editor tell me if my manuscript sucks?
  • Why do words make a difference? Which words do I overuse? Which words should I never use? 
  • How do I know when I’m done writing? 
  • How can I work with a cover designer and audiobook engineer? 
  • Can my local bookstore help me? Do I need beta readers? 

BONUS: Checklist for Authors to Fine-Tune a Manuscript before Editing Begins 

Buy the book.

Author Bio

Sandra Wendel is a highly experienced book editor who specializes in helping authors write, polish, and publish their nonfiction manuscripts.  

Her greatest joy in editing is working with authors who have a story to tell. She has worked with Holocaust survivors, a Secret Service agent, a bank robber, entrepreneurs, an eighties rock groupie, a homicide detective, funeral home director, real estate agents, chefs, doctors, lawyers, and plenty of ordinary people with extraordinary stories.  

She is a published author herself, sharing the authorship of two award-winning, empowering consumer health books with Edward T. Creagan, MD, a physician from Mayo Clinic ( She also wrote a cookbook tribute to her grandmother: Chewish (  

Sandra teaches highly popular continuing education classes at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska, called How to Write Your Book and How to Write Your Story (Memoir) 

She kayaks on her little lake in Nebraska until it ices over in winter and often reads a book a day (something trashy or a legal thriller) for escape and tries not to notice poor punctuation and editing miscues. 

Visit her website at