Monday, January 23, 2012

Working with an Editor ~ Part I

Working with an Editor ~ Part I

Having your work edited by someone OTHER THAN YOU is a necessary evil because you won’t see your writing errors – you are too close to your story and far too familiar with what the words should say to notice, in some cases, what they do say. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one!

Finding the right editor for you can seem like a daunting task and if you don’t know the difference between the types of editing that is offered from one person to another and you may think you are getting something that you are not. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself!

We will look at some common misunderstandings about editors in order to guide you through some of this process and then I will provide some common check list tips for you to follow when looking to hire an editor on Friday in “Working with an Editor ~ Part II”.

It is important to remember that some editors may edit work from several different genres, but for the most part, editors specialize. They can’t be experts on everything and if the editor you are considering has integrity and morals they will tell you flat out if they are not the right person to be editing your book (tread carefully and ask questions before you commit to working with anyone).

Editors employed at publishing houses do perform editing and if you are being pursued by a publisher that doesn’t offer editing services for free prior to publication, you are probably working with a self-publishing service (e.g., vanity press) and not a book publisher.

Editors need to know the marketplace in order to assist you in preparing book proposal and if you can find a savvy book editor, especially one who has ties to publishers, you will maximize your ability to get your book proposal sold.

All editors DO NOT do the same type of work! There are several different types of editors:

In-house Acquisition Editors – buys the rights to books and oversee their publication, acting as a liaison with many different departments. Often, they are not the person that will do the actual line editing or structural editing of your book.

Developmental Editors – will restructure manuscripts, clean up writing and make it less awkward and more consistent and add in transitions and headers. This type of editor is sometimes referred to as a heavy-line editor, a structural editor or a book doctor. They will often, but not always, help you to develop your story and their services and fees vary.

Light-line or Copyediting Editors – don’t address the structure of the book, the voice or the tone. Instead, they fix grammar and punctuation; decide on styling, fact check, and not inconsistencies (this is the type of editing I offer authors). A copyeditor or light-line editor doesn’t necessarily do developmental editing and a developmental editor will often only do minimal copyediting.

Note: even though developmental editors do very little copyediting as they get the book into shape for the publisher, when they are finished their work they will turn the manuscript over to someone whose expertise is in copyediting and proofreading. Even if the developmental editor happens to be a great copyeditor as well, they know it’s better to have a second set of eyes looking at text that has become extremely familiar to them. Proving my point from the beginning of this post – having your work edited by SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOU is critical!

Whatever type of editor you decide you require, don’t wait to find a professional to work with until three weeks before publication because editors are often booked up months in advance.

Remember to check back on Friday for “Working with an Editor ~ Part II” to get your checklist for working with an editor.


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