Editing FAQ

Contents
  1. How do you copy edit?
  2. Will I be happy with the quality of the copy edit/proofread?
  3. Do I trust people who are editors?
  4. I like my writing the way it is! I don’t want an editor to change it!
  5. Why hire an editor?
  6. What program do you use to copy edit and proofread?
  7. How will you deliver the completed work?
  8. How do we get started working together?
  9. Do you offer free samples of your copy editing and proofreading work?
  10. What is a sample assessment?
  11. What if I have an urgent deadline? How long does it take to hire you?

*Editor will be used to include proofreader

  1. How do you copy edit?

Compared with other editors, it’s difficult to say. Every editor brings different types and levels of experience to a project. Some intervene more, some less. Every editor would approach the same project differently.

When following the brief, carrying out its requirements, and working within the limitations of the service you want, it’s open season! Don’t panic, though, as we would agree on the brief beforehand by email and a contract.

In the endeavour of showing good judgement, I won’t ‘really’ be intervening with:

Rewriting

Restructuring

Reordering

Reorganising

The prose (and cons, ha!)

Author voice and style

Suffice to say if there is to be any intervention with rewriting, restructuring, reordering, reorganising (and probably another re-) it will be suggested as a written query in a comment balloon or a separate email/document. I’m not going to dive into the writing to change anything major without your go-ahead. I’d ask your permission first.

2. Will I be happy with the quality of the copy edit/proofread?

I will do my best, time and work permitting, and I may state this in a contract.

If you’re not happy with something please do raise your concerns by email and I’ll see if I’m able to resolve the problem for you.

Upon completion of the work I typically send a feedback form, where you can let me know what you thought of my service.

3. Do I trust people who are editors?

Editors want to help writers, publishers, and organisations prepare writing for publishing to meet readers’ expectations by following a brief that includes all the requirements within the parameters of an editing project. These days, many fiction editors are also writers themselves.

I’d recommended you have a good idea of what type of editing or proofreading you want first, which will help avoid somebody else telling you what you want. If it were me, I’d get a sense of who I was working with, and I’d make sure I was happy with what the editor could offer before deciding whether to move forward.

4. I like my writing the way it is! I don’t want an editor to change it!

An editor doesn’t rewrite or restructure what you have written, and only marks changes and offers suggestions on how to refine writing so that readers may understand the meaning without obstruction, and more clearly, making the writing invisible. Most writers’ first drafts have not been written with this intent in mind because the writer has been focusing on the story and this is why an editor’s perspective and skills have space to benefit the writer.

As a writer, I often made changes in my self-editing that I wasn’t sure were correct that better represented what I was trying to say in each sentence. This is the editor’s role, to take care of the editing you don’t want to think about after you’ve written your story – unless you have the capacity and time to be the writer, editor, and proofreader of your own story, and to trust it’s the best it will be.

5. Why hire an editor?

Presentation and professionalism

When you’re sending submissions to publishers they will take cleaner submissions more seriously. The less that bothers them when reading your submission, the better, and they’ll likely appreciate the time you spent not only writing a good submission, but doing what it takes to ensure your approach and submission are professional.

In self-publishing it is not compulsory to hire an editor or proofreader, but it is considered best practice and it can put your story in good stead among readers, and make it look like you’ve taken a professional and more serious approach to publishing like a stamp of approval.

Give book reviewers less to complain about

Discerning book reviewers will have fewer things to complain about in their reviews, and if the more constructive of those reviewers are happy with your book once it is published, it’s a big thumbs up to future potential readers that you as an author – and your book – are worth taking a risk on.

Better reviews ˃ More sales ˃ More readers ˃ Happy author

6. What program do you use to copy edit and proofread?

I work and prefer MS Word, using its Track Changes features. I also know how to work on paper using BSI proofreading marks.

If you would like me to work on a different platform, please stipulate when you contact and I’ll see if arrangements can be made.

7. How will you deliver the completed work?

I send you three versions for your convenience, in a MS Word document. I’ll send a final clean version for you to see the document as you would if you accepted all of my changes, a final clean version with comments, and a version showing all my changes and comments.

8. How do we get started working together?

First I need to know who you are and why you’re contacting me, or I will assume you have a project you want copy edited or proofread. You’re free to ask any questions, and I will do my best to answer. Communication is, after all, a good sign that we can work together. If you do want your project copy edited and/or proofread then I’ll want to know the essentials of your project: name, contact details, book title, genre, word count, service you require, deadline, special requirements, intended readers, how you plan to publish, book description.

To supply you with an accurate quote, it’s recommended you provide me with a sample of your story so that I know what is required and can get a ‘feel’ for the project before I start working.

9. Do you offer free samples of your copy editing and proofreading work?

Note: it’s at my discretion whether I will offer free copy edited or proofread samples for your perusal. I can see how they may be beneficial to authors in assessing the skill level of a potential copy editor or proofreader, however, on that same note I do not believe sample copy edits or proofreads are representative of the quality authors can expect, which involve decisions made on the complete project, and involve more time. My clients are valuable to me and I believe I can help authors best when I’m working with a complete project.

10. What is a sample assessment?

Before anything begins I should read one or more samples of your story to assess if and how I can help you, and these samples should be sent as word documents or .mobi files. Two 1,000-word samples may be ideal – one from the beginning and one from elsewhere in the manuscript – because the beginning is usually cleaner than the rest.

It saves us both time – and any nasty surprises if much more work is necessary than envisaged – if we know exactly how much work is required.

Reading your sample makes me familiar with your project and writing style. I’ll then let you know which areas I can help you with, and I can put together a quote if you have asked for one.

11. What if I have an urgent deadline? How long does it take to hire you?

After you’ve got in touch, 3–5 days is desirable for me to assess your sample and 3–5 days may be necessary for me to acquaint myself with your brief and requirements, for you to ask any questions, and for us to possibly move forward with agreeing on project essentials in a contract. Once the contract has been signed, deposit has been paid, and the project file has been received I can commence work. I would say if your deadline is sooner than 6–10 days away and you want me to work on a whole novella or novel, it may not be feasible.

Alternatively, with some clients – and at my discretion – we’ve agreed on the brief in the email conversations, and in these cases a Paypal deposit or bank transfer deposit and receipt of the project file has been enough to commence work where urgent deadlines are concerned.