- How do you copy edit?
- Will I be happy with the quality of the copy edit/proofread?
- Do I trust people who are editors?
- I like my writing the way it is! I don’t want an editor to change it!
- Why hire an editor?
*Editor will be used to include proofreader
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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