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#EditingWeek: Are we a match?

Hiring an editor is like finding a mate. You need to be a good match for the collaboration to fair out well. So, how would you know if an editor is right for you?

Most editors provide a free sample edit so you can see how a particular editor works with your writing. This is a great way for me to showcase my abilities as an editor, but also for you to know exactly what you’ll be getting if you hire me. Sometimes, writers are unsure if they need all three types of editing or just one type, so many would ask the editor to provide a sample edit for all three types to help in their decision-making. 

I offer a free 500-word (1 page) sample edit and very clearly specify what revisions are for developmental, content, or copy editing. Using the sample edit, you can see where your weaknesses are as a writer and what type of editing would improve your manuscript the most. 

Since editing is very subjective, it’s extremely important for authors to feel comfortable with their editor to make the necessary changes and suggestions in their manuscript. When you review the sample edit, you can also check if the editor is making changes that affect your voice. This is extremely important because no one wants their voice to change. As an editor, we are not supposed to change the meaning behind your text, but to revise the way that text is delivered. If there are fragments or ideas that are not fully developed, we will offer suggestions about what you can add to complete the idea. However, we are not the ones making the actual changes to the content. A great analogy is comparing editing to cleaning your room. Editors dust off the cobwebs and rearranging things to make your room more presentable, but they never buy new furniture.

Questions you should ask yourself when deciding

When it comes time to choosing an editor, make sure to ask yourself these questions after reviewing their sample edit:

  • Is the readability of the revised sample improved?
  • Do they offer suggestions in addition to making revisions?
  • Do they mark down all their edits so it’s easy for you to revert if necessary?
  • Is your voice maintained?
  • Do you like how the revised sample reads?
  • If you have more than one editor to choose from, compare their sample edits and see which one produces a better sample. Do they catch the same mistakes?

Is it okay to say no thanks

Editors understand the importance of finding an editor that works with you, so it’s completely okay to decline an editor after reviewing their sample edit. Sometimes, writers prefer working with an editor that has a faster turnaround while others prefer working with an editor that has experience with their genre. Non-fiction and fiction books are not the same, so it may be hard for an editor who typically revises memoirs to offer adequate advice for a children’s book. Kindly thank the editor for their sample edit and let them know that you’ve decided to move in a different direction.

The editor and author need to have a strong working relationship because together, the magic happens and how manuscripts are transformed into something extraordinary.

If you are interested in a sample edit to see if I’m the right editor for you, then feel free to contact me with your manuscript so I can show you how I can bring the best out of your book.

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