Revision Week: Peter Economy

peter_economyPeter Economy’s 60+ books include Managing For Dummies, The SAIC Solution: How We Built an $8 Billion Employee-Owned Technology Company, and Giving Back: Connecting You, Business, and Community. Peter has also served as Associate Editor for the New York City-based Leader to Leader magazine since 2001, recently served as a lecturer at San Diego State University (teaching MGT 453: Creativity and Innovation), is a member of the National Advisory Council of The Art of Science Learning, and is a founding member of the board of SPORTS for Exceptional Athletes.

*After Peter’s interview are instructions for entering today’s Free Full Manuscript Edit Giveaway.

How does revision work within a collaboration?
WCBFD EconomyWhen collaborating with someone else (most of my books are collaborations), I usually revise their work, and they revise mine. In the case of Writing Children’s Books For Dummies, for example, my coauthor/collaborator Lisa Rojany Buccieri and I split the chapters we were each responsible for—she prepared initial drafts of some chapters and I prepared initial drafts of others. We then traded chapters and edited each other’s work.

How does working with a new collaborator for a new project and each new audience affect your approach to shaping the book?
Every collaborator has his or her own approach and style, so it takes a little bit of time at the beginning of a new project to mesh that with my own approach and style. Most of the time it all works out and the collaboration goes smoothly. In some rare cases it doesn’t, and if we can’t get on the same page we part ways.

Which draft typically gets shown to your editor? How much revising happens after the editor sees that draft?
Giving BackI only send final drafts to my editors—my very best work. Sometimes the editors do very little revising after I submit this final draft, and sometimes they do a lot—it depends on the project and the editor’s own approach. But I would never send an editor anything less than my very best.

How does revision work in ghostwriting? How do you strike a balance between your judgment as a writer and the preferences of the person you’re writing for?
The balance is that I am the writing expert and my client is the content expert. Sometimes I need to strongly express my opinions and provide my advice about making revisions, based on my many years of experience as a professional writer. This (in addition to the actual writing) is what my clients pay me for. Regardless, it is extremely important that I capture my client’s voice and that he or she is comfortable with the style and happy with the book that results. If I haven’t accomplished that, then I have failed.

What’s the most drastic thing you’ve done to a project while revising?
saicIn a few cases I have had to throw out an entire table of contents—the approach that a collaborator and I were going to take to write the book—and start over from scratch. Fortunately we did this before we wrote the manuscript and not after.

How do you know you’ve got the final draft?
When the deadline arrives and I know the manuscript is good enough. Absolute perfection is not necessary, but it better be damn close.


The Editor is giving away a FREE FULL MANUSCRIPT EDIT of your manuscript. The edit will be a “Substantive Edit,” in which the author receives general feedback about the manuscript’s overall pacing, organization, narrative voice, plot development/narrative arc, characterization, point of view, setting, delivery of background information, adult sensibility (children’s books only), and the synchronicity of age-appropriate subject matter with target audience, as The Editor determines appropriate and necessary after reviewing the entire manuscript. It is not a word-by-word, line-by-line “Line Edit.” Note that the manuscript can be fiction, nonfiction, or picture books.

Here are the rules:

  1. Your manuscript can be of ANY GENRE or CATEGORY (for adults or children, fiction or nonfiction), including picture books.
  2. Your manuscript must be COMPLETE and SHALL NOT EXCEED 90,000 WORDS. In the case of a picture book entry, the manuscript cannot exceed 7 double-spaced, 12-pt font pages.
  3. Deadline: MIDNIGHT tonight, March 30, 2013, PST.
  4. Winner will be randomly selected using and announced on March 31, 2013, in the comments section and on the Facebook page, and the winner will be notified directly via email.


One entry –  SEND EMAIL to using the “Write to The Editor” button at the top of the blog or by clicking here. Type “Free Full MS Edit Giveaway” in the subject line. In the body of the email, include the TITLE of your manuscript, YOUR FULL NAME, and the CATEGORY/GENRE of your project. DO NOT send your manuscript or any portion of it. (If you have any difficulty with the contact button, send an email entry directly to *If you do not want your title announced, please use an alternate working title.*

Bonus entry – SUBSCRIBE. subscribers get a bonus entry by sending a second email with “Subscriber’s Bonus Giveaway Entry” in the subject line and your title and full name in the body. (Note: the Editor will verify!) Not a subscriber yet? Then subscribe now by clicking on the “Subscribe” button at the top of and then email your second entry.

Extra bonus entries – SPREAD THE WORD. Blog, tweet, or otherwise electronically tell others about this Revision Week giveaway to get additional entries today. Send an email to with “I Spread the Word!” in the subject line, and in the body include a link to your blog post or your Twitter address or your Facebook wall or whatever social media you used to spread the word. Don’t send screen-shots; attachments won’t be accepted. Include your title, full name, and the category/genre in the body. Spread the word more than once? Then send an “I Spread the Word!” email for each one!

Anyone who doesn’t follow these rules will be disqualified, at the Editor’s discretion.

Disclaimer: The Editor does not share or in any other way use your contact information; it’s collected solely for winner contact purposes at the end of the giveaway.

Good luck!


  1. And the last Free Partial Edit Giveaway of Revision Week 2013 goes to Lori Mozdzierz, with her picture book Fishing the Boon Docks. Congratulations to Lori, and good luck to all in today’s grand finale Free Full Manuscript Edit Giveaway!

  2. It is always interesting to read/hear the process of collaboration and how it works with revising as well as writing. Thank you Peter for sharing yours.
    Also Thank you Deborah – I was traveling most of the week and caught up to each day as I could mostly too late to post for the critiques but never-the-less each person’s process this week has been enlightening and inspiring to read. I hope you continue to offer your Revision Week.

    • Thanks for this note, Kim. I’m glad you enjoyed the week so much. I’m very appreciative of the writers who took the time to share their processes with us. I love hearing that stuff!

  3. Woohoo, Lori!!

    I already have Deborah’s “Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies” but I’ll have to get “Writing Children’s Books for Dummies” too! I’m sure it’ll be a valuable addition to my 50+ volumes strong library of how-to writing books. 🙂

    (I wonder how many writers are also incurable book hoarders?)

  4. What a tremendous series. I have learned a lot, and been introduced to several new writers in the process. Congratulations to all the winners of the partial free edit; unfortunately my crew of ninja kittens who were given the mission to hack were distracted by balls of yarn. For the final prize, I may have to employ my band of ninja bunnies (hopefully they have time between the deliveries of Easter eggs.) Dear Editor, thank you, and I look forward to your next Revision Week.

    • Michael, your notes in your giveaway entries put a smile on my face each day. Glad you kept the ninja kittens aimed at instead of me. I am allergic to cats.

  5. Hello everyone! Thanks for the warm welcome! Please let me know if you have any questions about all this — I’ve been a full-time writer guy for more than 15 years now, and I’ve been through *almost* everything. All best

  6. I’ve often wondered what having a writing partner would be like. I think it must take tolerance, patience, and a remarkable ability to compromise. Thanks for all the tips, Peter, and congrats to Lori for winning the crit! 🙂

    • Thanks, Laura — to me having a writing partner is to me one of the most-enjoyable things about being a writer. I’m always meeting new people, working on new projects, and learning new things as a result of my many collaborations. My coauthor on Writing Children’s Books For Dummies — Lisa Rojany Buccieri — and I are currently in the process of building an actual business where we will formalize our writing partnership and offer it to the world. She’s more fiction oriented and I’m more non-fiction oriented. The way I describe it is 1 + 1 = 3.

    • It is — I really enjoy the people I get to meet and work with, and although I’m usually firmly planted at home in front of my computer (as I am right now), I sometimes get to travel as a part of my projects. Last June a ghostwriting client took me along to the Philippines for a 10-day trip so I could experience what it was really like as I wrote about it. It was a life-changing trip for me in many ways.

  7. This was really interesting. I’ve always wondered about writing in partnership with someone else. I can only imagine it would be fantastic to have another brain to ping ideas off.

    Thank you for a wonderful week of interviews and tips! It’s been so enlightening.

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