Can You Really Trust an Editor?

Posted on November 5, 2013


ImageEditors have always been a hot topic for writers: “Do I really need one? What can they do for my book that I can’t do?” The answer to that is plenty. Their job is just as important as the author’s. But how can that be if the author is the one who creates the story? Well read on and you shall see.

Who needs an Editor?

Are you a writer?

Have you written a poem or story?

Are you considering publishing?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need an editor. Just like the author of a great masterpiece, you are sensitive to criticism and being told what to add and omit from your work. Don’t fret! An editor is going to make certain that your manuscript is ready for audiences and gives you the success you have always dreamt of.  You may question, “What does an editor do if they are not here to change the entire story?” Think of the editor as your best friend.

You brag to your best friend that you have written the next best love story since Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook and you can’t wait for her to read it. Upon reading it, she notices that the story you described to her is not the one she just read; it is a great story, but there are some missing links.  Just like the good friend he is, she begins to correct some punctuation and spelling, suggest word use, and communicates the message she received from the book. Wow, without her, the book would have been a disaster! This is your editor.  The editor’s responsibility is to keep your style and vision for the book, while making sure your audience receives the exact message you are conveying.

So the next time you contemplate writing a book or article, don’t forget to include your best friend, the editor. They can be what lies between publishing disaster and success.

Wherefore Art Thou Editors?

Where can you locate an editor?

The easy task is admitting that you need an editor, but where can you find one? You don’t recall seeing one next to the local Wal-Mart or near your favorite shopping plaza, so where are they hiding?

1. In your favorite book

Check the acknowledgements in your favorite book; the editors are usually listed within the first couple of pages. Although you may be able to find a reputable editor, the reality is that the big publishing editors–mostly located in New York–might be out of your price range. So it is best to stick to regionally published books or small presses who work heavily with freelance editors.

2. Email, Email, Email

The best way to find reputable editors is through someone who has had experience with one. Email other authors and ask for a referral for their editor or any others in the market.

3. Last resort

Look online.  There are organizations that provide resources and information for hiring editors. A good starting place would be Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA).  EFA is a well-known and respected organization in the editorial field. This site is much more reliable than searching on Craigslist or Google.  Other websites that cater to editors and authors are Editcetera, Publishers Marketplace and BiblioCrunch.

What Can an Editor Do That I Can’t?

An editor’s basic skills consist of correcting any punctuation, spelling, and grammatical errors in your manuscript. They are there to make sure your work is polished and ready to hit the stores.  However, to really make a manuscript store-ready, it must go through other tests and close scrutiny from the editor.

Editors work with authors to organize their manuscript’s clarity and readability. All books have a flow, pace, and rhythm, and the editor makes sure that the flow is consistent and appealing to your audience. When it comes to non-fiction books, the editor will check data and facts for accuracy. For fiction, they will make sure that the plot is sufficient for the length of the novel, suggest word choices for certain characters, and guarantee that the transitions from one chapter to the next are engaging enough for the reader.

Think of your editor as the first person who has purchased your novel. This is one of the most exciting days of your life, but also the scariest. As the buyer reads it, fifty thousand questions and worries cloud your mind. Does he/she like it? Should I have made that character older? Was my word choice right for my audience? It is the editor’s job to make sure all of these questions are answered in your favor.  So the next time you read a magazine or book and are impressed with the word choice, character development, and plot structure, remember that it all was tweaked by an editor.  So what are you waiting for? Go find your editor!

Angelique Anderson, Writer, Editor, Asta Publications

Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

Posted in: Publishing