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Three Top Tips for Working with the Right Editor

Updated: Jan 26

Multiple piles of books and magazines.

Don't let fear stop you from achieving your goals.

I know many writers are hesitant about handing over their work to an editor for fear they will be judged, and their writing pulled apart and destroyed.

Therefore, I have three top tips that, in my opinion, are a must when looking for an editor.

Tip 1 - Look for a trained editor

I always advocate hiring a trained editor. As proofreading and editing is an unregulated profession, many haven't undertaken training to hone their skills or understand the extent of what we do.

It's not just about catching a spelling mistake or a rogue capital letter, and many untrained proofreaders and editors don't know what to look out for, what the problem is or how to fix it.

Spoiler alert: At no point during my training was I taught to spot a typo!

Check to see if the editor you plan to work with has a website. You can look for credentials on what courses they've completed and whether they are members of any societies. The CIEP (The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading) is the main recognised organisation in the UK.

It might cost a little more, but you and your writing will thank you for it.

Tip 2 - Look for the right editor

Looking for the right editor can be key to whether they can fully support you in achieving your goals. Some editors specialise in specific areas or just don't edit certain types of documents. Search for keywords such as 'fiction editor' or 'business proofreading' to narrow your market. Yep! That's me.

This saves you valuable time contacting editors who won't take on your project.

Tip 3 - Find your fit

Finding your fit is important. You're handing over a project that means a lot to you, and you want to know the editor you choose will care for it as much as you do.

Especially handy for longer works such as manuscripts, I would suggest getting a sample edit done first.

A sample edit aims to see if you, the author, are happy with the way the editor works and the edits they suggest and for the editor to get a feel for your writing. If anything doesn't quite gel at this stage, the fit might not be quite right.

Some editors do these for free while others charge a reasonable fee (though usually this is deducted from the total of the full edit if you hire them).

Don't immediately be put off by the editor who charges for samples. This can often reflect their expertise, experience and qualifications. Besides, no editor should be expected to work for free. If the shoe were on the other foot, would you? They're entitled to charge for their time.

Want a sample edit? Head over to my services page for more details.

Now for something fun

The editor/author relationship can often be a tough one to navigate, so I've written this jaunty little poem to put your doubts to rest.

Your words fill the open doc on my screen

My attention is piqued, and my eyes are keen

I scan every line, every word, every letter

Striving to make your message much better

The typos get banished, the misspellings corrected

The ambiguity is removed, and the punctuation perfected

The inconsistencies are queried, the formatting checked

But your voice is still prevalent, not hopelessly wrecked

At the start, you had cautiously handed over your writing

You've heard horror stories that an editor's judgement can be biting

However, upon receiving the document back

You review the corrections and comments I've tracked

You notice that, actually, it's not all that bad

The feedback is helpful, and you're really quite glad

I've removed all the unnecessary and pointless fluff

Which now helps to highlight all the important stuff

The paragraphs now flow in a more orderly fashion

And now demonstrate your drive and your passion

The embarrassing faux pas that was on line seven

Was caught (thank god!) and now reads like heaven

With hindsight, you see, you had no reason to doubt me

You chose a professional you can trust unreservedly

So, authors fear not about hiring an editor

I may not be an angel, but I'm certainly no predator

I'm here to help make your writing shine

It's your story to tell, your words, not mine.

Written by Hayley Rushbrook

Post take away

Editors are generally a friendly bunch who are usually more than happy to accommodate your needs.

And, if you follow the above tips, you can ensure you'll get the service you expect and deserve.

If you ever have a question you want to hurl my way, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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