Why should you get your piece of writing edited by someone who’s knows what they’re doing? Better yet why should you pay for editing? What makes it so special?
Editing is such a precarious object. It’s always so subjective, but why do you really need editing? Why not just outsource it to a friend who will give you feedback for nothing versus forking out money to get an editor to look at it? Why bother to pay for editing?
Look at it this way: would you self diagnose your child with a heart problem just by their outward behaviour? Would you trust your partner/husband/boyfriend to fix the oven when it was clearly broken and needs a repair? Would you trust your car in the hands of your inexperienced brother? If you answered no then why are you willing to let that friend look at your piece of writing for free and not pay a professional to take care of your words and help shape it just right so that readers can’t put it down?
I get it. You look at the editing prices and gawk. How could something that cost so much? Editors don’t do much, do they?
But a lot of people take for granted the work most editors do. You know those beautifully bounded books that you buy from a book store or from that online bookstore (psst Book Depository is a money sinkhole…seriously) they have gone through many different edits before it even gets into your hot little hands. They are paid to edit and make things beautiful in a way that only they can see.
Editors are one of the most important people in the publishing industry and people take what they do for granted and frankly, it makes me angry that they are getting laid off from their jobs or missed because of how much they cost or their services are no longer needed. But it seems to be the norm for most of those educated outside of the writing and publishing industry that writer and editors work for free. I thought it was a myth until a family member who wanted to use my services for free because they needed a writer/editor, I was speechless. I gawked at them. I’m okay with offering my services for free, but there is no way that I will expect someone to just think that I will hand my services to them for free. I refuse to be a starving artist and doing my work for free means that this what I’ll forever be doing but I know that there is no need for that (thanks Liz Gilbert for reiterating that in Big Magic).
So, what do editors do? I’m sure you’re thinking that as many of those out there do. Well that’s a hot topic because editing comes in so many different levels. It’s like the ocean or a well done balayage hairstyle where the levels are hidden, you can’t see them unless you know about them. Editors wear many different hats and do some or all of the following: general edits, proof edits, line edits, copy edits, and they work so hard; they push writers to be better; they see that spark of potential in them and really dig into them to find make that gold shine.
I’d like to add that I think they breathe fresh air into whatever project I might have going at any given time. Sometimes I’m too close to the material, to see what needs to change and that is where having an editor on your team is just fantastic. And let’s face it; I can use all the help I can get!
– G. Lee Ann
An editor is the saint that dots I’s and crosses t’s. Ensures you are using the right version of words (their, there, they’re) and checks you are saying what you wan tot be saying to your audience. Like a 3rd grade teacher for grown ups.
They make magic happen by taking a piece of content and stripping it back and getting it to its core meaning.
I think an editor helps your you to bring out the absolute best with your work.
I think an editor, depending on the stage of edits, but generally, is someone who does everything from ensure consistency, flow, ease of reading, typographical excellence and overall awesomeness of a story, piece, novel or EPIC saga (in the case of me sometimes) to helping a writer stay clear on their content, story, message, intention, and keeps writers sane sometimes too!
They are the backbone of every published novel and piece out there. Without their eye for detail we would get mistake filled prose that would make us cringe and not want to read.
But in case you want to know there are different kinds of editing (and I cover all of them with my editing services).
The first is what I call general editing but it’s sometimes called developmental, content, substantial or structural edits. This stage looks at the story itself, the characters. Are they being contradictive? Are they realistic? Does the dialogue flow? Does the story work? I think it’s one of the best for stories and how to better improve them.
Next is line editing which focuses on the prose itself, does the sentence flow? Is it easy to read? Does this paragraph sound clunky? For me, this is peppered through most of my editing, because I look at these naturally!
Next up is copy editing. This one is read with a completely different brain (or at least that’s how I justify it) it’s the part that involves just looking at the work on a whole and finding inconsistencies that can be smoothed out and fixed so that they are continuous.
Lastly proof reading is the last stage of editing and that actually is just a look at making sure that there are no lingering mistakes that have been missed or reworked into the piece (because they do find their way back in!).
But don’t take my word from it, I asked the following three questions to a community: What do you think is most valuable about an editor (which is quoted above)? Would you pay for an editor and why? What do you think an editor does?
Armed with these questions I got some pretty awesome responses, that drive down my points exactly.
An editor provides a fresh perspective on things that have been bouncing around in the head of the writer for quite some time. Since the words we write (as writers) are ones we’ve often mulled over for quite some time, we don’t think about how those words might be interpreted by an audience. Maybe things aren’t as clear as we’d like. Maybe it’s more cluttered than we realise. A good editor can look at that tapestry of ideas and begin to pick through the tangles, ideally helping to sort things through, clarify, solidify and then present those edits in a way that forces the writer to come out of their own heads a bit and look at the big picture.
– G. Lee Ann
Editors are most valuable because they offer an alternative set of eyes to help execute a point. It’s not interfering, it’s increasing perspective, strengthening a point and double checking your grammar. They are divine.
Editors are great because they’re another set of eyes that can look at your content objectively. As all good writers do, we can become enthralled and tangled in our words and stories. It’s an editor who picks up on this and gets it straight again. This adds so much more value to your content and this is inherently passed onto the reader!
That they can really get to the core of what you’re trying to say and help you to make sure you main point is bring articulated clearly. Having another set of eyes on a piece of writing is invaluable, because when I’m editing my own work it’s so easy to get caught up into the piece and miss grammar, punctuation, spelling mistakes. Plus I also find that even though it makes sense from my point of view, getting someone else’s perspective is truly invaluable.
The most valuable thing about an editor is that it’s not YOU. It’s not you with your emotional investment in the piece and your eyes which have read it 100 times and missed that spelling error every time. The editor is not attached to the outcome, they’re not planning their success on it or their viral article from it, they’re just concerned with making sure the piece is crafted, considered and consistent. They are the eyes and mindset you wish you had when you edit your own work.
So, how do you find a good editor?
Your editor needs to help you find strengthen your voice, not hinder it in any way, they also need to be able to approach is in a way that isn’t damaging what you’ve done or breaking your ego.
As Editors we break people, but we build you back up in the best of ways and make your writing better!
I have a great checklist for you, you can find it here and it’s going to help you with 5 simple tips to find a great editor. CLICK HERE to get access to it.
- Check that your work is ready. Before you even start looking for editors, have your really taken the piece as far as you can? Remember that having it be in the best shape it can possibly be in for yourself will make it easier for an editor to work on. Secondly, decide on the kind of editing that you actually need. Scroll up to see what you need the most.
- Research your editors. Don’t limit yourself to just one. Ask questions, talk to friends, use your communities on Facebook. Check out their testimonials. Don’t be afraid to find out the good and the bad about the editor you want to work with.
- Converse with them. Your editor is going to be dishing out some hard real talk. They’re going to be telling you what’s wrong with your manuscript so you need to be able to Ask them about their experience and what really lights them up. You’ll get an insight into their lives and can start to piece together whether or not they’ll be the right fit for you. We love questions and we’re more than happy to answer any and all that you have regarding our services.
- Check their rates. Are they per word or do they offer a lump sum? Most editors charge per word and most of it hovers around the 0.10-0.20 cents per word, so try and see how much and then work out who to go with. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about their rates either.
- If they have sample edits, take advantage of this. It’ll give you a feel for how they edit and whether or not they mesh with your writing style. And it’s free!
So paying for an editor isn’t a bad thing after all. They’re worth their weight in gold and then some. See what some of the gorgeous other ladies have said.
Absolutely. An editor isn’t just someone who reads through my stories and tells me what needs shifted around. An editor is my writerly confidant – someone who knows where all of this madness is headed and can help me find the best path. They wear many hats, so to speak, throughout the process. Part mentor, part cheerleader, part taskmaster and occasionally, part therapist, when the process is getting a little too intense. In my case, I need a good kick in the seat, to get me going and to keep me focused. Having an editor with a firm hand for deadlines is, frankly, worth their weight in gold, so far as I’m concerned!
– G. Lee Ann
I would definitely (and do) pay for an editor on occasion. It isn’t necessary every time, though it is clear when it’s required. I prefer to use the same person as they understand my writing style and it helps for continuity.
I would definitely pay for an editor, because as I’ve mentioned above having that extra set of eyes on your work is truly invaluable as an editor can really help bring out the best in your work.
I would pay for an editor. I get too involved in my work, I care too much, I’m wordy and a little messy and I mix thing up because I forget people can’t read my mind and they don’t have all the information I have in advance so while they’re confused, it’s totally clear to me. An editor helps me improve my work, shape it, sharpen it and make it clear to everyone, not just to me.
They are the silent assassins of the writing world, so take the time, go and give your editor a virtual hug or even a real one. Thank them for the awesome jobs they’re doing, because it’s why we can read amazing books that are (mostly) free of mistakes and make sense. And editors are still people, so they do still make the mistakes.
So why would you want to trust your hard earned words with someone for free? Especially arming yourself with all of the knowledge you now know. Why would you really trust someone who isn’t trained to have the same eye as an editor who could pick up on much more than you could ever have thought to dream of?
Don’t sell yourself or your piece of work short. Invest that money into yourself and your hard work. Armed with your trusty checklist, you’ll be able to find the right editor for you.