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Monday, 29 July 2013

Advice from a Professional Editor

How is it possible that three months have gone by since my last post?  Life is busy, but my goal is to have a new post at the end of each month moving forward.  Balancing children, summer holidays, writing, editing, and life is a constant struggle, as all Mother Freakin' Writers know.  But, I think this post was worth the wait.  

Thursa, from Electric Reads Book Promotion & Literary Services has answered some questions for us about hiring a professional editor.  Thursa is described as a keen-eyed editor who has worked for a number of well-known publishing houses and holds a degree in English and Creative Writing.

1.  When should an author hire an outside editor for their work?  In other words, how does an author know it's time to invest money in an editor?  It's quite an investment so what would be your best advice to writers?
A writer should feel 100% comfortable with what they have produced before sending it to an editor. If a writer is in too much of a hurry to get their work out there, it will usually show in the quality, and the more work an editor has to do, the more likely a second set of revisions (i.e. a proofread, and thus further expense) would be necessary to make the work the best it can be. I'd suggest a writer leave their work for a time once they've finished it and then read it through themselves with fresh eyes - it can be amazing the things that get missed the first time around. Do this a couple of times if necessary, and only send the work out when you feel you know it inside-out and are proud of it. It's part of an editor's job to uncover plot holes and confront why a particular name was chosen, etc., so you need to be ready to either clarify your choices or come around to new ideas. And when choosing an editor, don't be afraid to ask questions before you decide.
2.  What are expectations writers should have working with an editor?
A writer should expect to have an open and on-going dialogue with their editor and be happy to answer any questions the editor bring up as the edit progresses - and to try not be offended if they don't like something the editor suggests! The editor should be able to assess the quality of the work and what is needed; i.e. whether the edits should have more to do grammar or word choice, or whether the narrative itself needs a bit more time spent on it. The editor shouldn't change a writer's personal style, but they should refine what is there and iron out any inconsistencies. Don't expect an editor to undertake major rewrites though - that should be addressed by the writer beforehand, as above.
3.  How would you describe the editor/writer relationship?
I think it's a fairly personal one, as a good editor should be aware of and sensitive to the fact that they are often holding a person's dreams in their hands. Both the editor and the writer should feel that they are able to be honest, but tact and compromise can be required from both sides in order to attain the best result for the work.

Thanks, Thursa for your insights.  It's so important that a writer feels comfortable communicating with the editor, that a writer researches the editor's qualifications and experience, before paying for their services.  Don't just go on a good feeling alone or on a stellar background - it's the fine balance between the two that makes a successful editor/writer relationship.

Electric Reads website is and their phone number is 01344 203 086.  They offer services to support authors from early editing through publication (print or e-) and into marketing and organising events to promote the author and their work.

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