The Reading Corner and Literary Tips

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Perils of Finding a Good Editor
Why is editing so important?
by Rose Jackson-Beavers

As a publisher I often meet with new authors who want to become published by large publishing houses. Unfortunately many have saved money by scrimping on editing their manuscript. This is a serious no-no. To get your book in the hands of readers and others it must be well written. It's not that the authors don't want to present their manuscripts in the best light, it is simply a challenge in finding the right editor.

I am often asked, "How do I choose an editor?" So many writers have hired friends, teachers, and others who claim to be editors to find out later that they were shortchanged. As an author myself, I have experienced the pains of hiring an editor and later finding so many errors that all I could do was shake my head in anger. After that I rolled up my sleeves, and searched for resources and information that would teach me how to find a good editor.

This is what I learned. There are many types of editing. There are those editors who specialize in various facets of the work such as copyediting, line editing and proofreading. When seeking an editor you are looking for someone who has the skills to help improve sentence structure, punctuation and word usage. A good editor is a person who can line edit or even rewrite the author's text, when needed, to make a book more marketable. This person also has good vision and focus which will help them to evaluate the content of a work while determining what technical problems may exist within the manuscript.

People often want to know, "What should I look for in choosing an editor?" You look at their experience and how many years they have worked as a copy editor and/or if they have taken courses to study this field. You want to know if that person is an avid reader of English language grammar and style books. Before selecting an editor you must ask several questions. Ask about their work experience as well as what formal training they have for the technical elements of editing. Also asked how many books they have edited? Finally ask about their core competency; is it technical or creative? Asking these questions will help you determine if an editor is right for your book. Finding the right editor is so important because poor editing can prevent your voice from ever being heard.


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