If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering hiring an editor for the book you finally finished writing. You’ve possibly just spent about twenty minutes on Google asking Should I get an editor for my book? and What does an editor do?
I don’t have a quick answer. In fact, one of my clients has been working with me for nearly a year and she still admits she doesn’t quite know how to describe what I do. (And yes, I welcome any opportunity to post that blog because it’s one of the most generous things I’ve ever read.)
The term ‘editor’ has many competing and layered descriptors — including global editor, developmental editor, content editor, line editor, copyeditor, proofreader — and you’ll find overlapping definitions for many of those. So let's talk job description instead of job title.
Editors’ roles run the spectrum from assessing structure and overarching ideas to proofreading for typos and scrutinizing comma placement. Fulfilling the in-between roles are those of us who help to tell the story more perfectly, which sometimes includes overarching ideas and might take note of a rogue comma; but mostly it means moving slowly through the writing, improving it where needed.
That in-between place is where I work.
What I do:
Help you finish
I’m the editor you use after you've finished your manuscript and before you submit it to agents or publishers. I'm assuming by the time you come to me you're happy with the plot, characters, structure — all the big picture elements. (If you feel you still need big picture feedback, I also offer a more general feedback service.)
Dig in deep
I go through the manuscript, line by line, identifying and fixing (or suggesting fixes for) weakness in language, dialogue, description, underdeveloped plot points, pacing and other issues that cause the writing to get in the way of the story.
I keep this process visible and interactive. I edit on a shared document so you can see my work as I go along and, if needed, you can answer questions or give input. We may sometimes debate various issues that arise. It can be an invigorating, dynamic process that may feel a little humbling, but you will probably love. (But if you’d rather just hand over the document and not look at it again until I’m done, that’s OK too.)
Make you a better writer
Working with an editor who is thorough, personable and communicative is like taking a one-on-one writing class. My clients regularly report that an unexpected benefit of working with me has been their own growth as a writer.
Bring benefits specific to each book and author
The above doesn't fully capture what I can bring to your book, but I'm happy to connect you with writers who have worked with me and can tell you about their experiences.
What I don’t do:
The super-big picture stuff
If you eventually get an agent or a publisher, they may ask you to cut entire characters or drastically change certain storylines to fit their ideas of what will most likely sell. If I consider some aspect problematic, I will certainly discuss it with you, but I’m not looking to change your book. My entire aim is to make your book the best version of what it is.
The super-small stuff
I’m not a proofreader. I will naturally find errors — typos or technical and mechanical issues — because as a professional writer and editor of nearly twenty years, mistakes tend to jump out at me. However, proofreading is another process that should be performed at a later stage by a person who is not me.
Guarantee you'll get a book deal
I’m not an agent or a publisher. I can help you with query letters and book proposals, but I’m all about the book itself.
My typical* process:
Initial read of the book
After I’ve read the entire manuscript, I’ll provide a brief summary of my feedback and recommendations. We’ll have a phone call to discuss the book, your vision, any questions either of us has, and the process for moving forward with editing.
Edit the first 2-3 chapters
My edits will be done via a shared document (I’ll explain in our initial phone call how this works), so you’ll be able to see exactly what I’m doing as I go along.
Checking-in phone call
After I’ve edited those, we’ll pause again to discuss. The editing and revising process is a very personal one, so it’s vital that you’re comfortable with every aspect of it. We can take this moment to assess how things are going, address any concerns or questions, and decide whether you are getting what you want out of the arrangement.
Edit remaining chapters
If you’re happy with everything, we’ll continue on with the rest of the book. Throughout the process, we will communicate via phone, email and on the manuscript itself.
Optional: book proposal
If you want to pitch to an agent or publisher, I can help you create your book proposal. We can discuss this in more detail if you’re interested.
*I say 'typical' because authors' needs vary greatly. Before you decide anything, let's talk. I'd love to hear about your book.