But how do you know if the editor you found is a good fit for you?
In my last post (read it here), I discussed how a sample edit can do three things:
- It show you a particular editor’s knowledge and ability,
- It helps the editor determine the amount of work your manuscript needs to make it as professional as possible, and
- It gives you the opportunity to see how that editor believes he or she can improve your book.
Erik John Baker (be sure to check out his blog here) left this comment:
I think it’s also important to find an editor who listens, both [to] the writer and to the writer’s voice.”
Bingo! We all expect an editor to be good with the written word, but it is equally important that someone who is part of your team is a good listener and honors your authorial voice. Let’s discuss the “good listener” part.
The late Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change) put it this way:
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
The editor you ultimately hire should ask questions, lots and lots of questions. At the end of an interview, you should feel very comfortable that the editor in question (pun intended) is someone who can help you meet your goals. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are a few questions I’ve asked potential clients:
- How can an editor help you? What do you expect an editor to do for you?
- What do you hope to accomplish with editing help?
- How do you prefer to communicate? By telephone? Skype? Email?
- What are your publishing plans?
- What are your deadlines? Are they flexible or cast in stone?
- Have you used an freelance editor before? If you have, what worked? What did not work?
Without a clear understanding of what you, the author, wants and needs from an edit, an editor is liable to make assumptions that can lead to misunderstandings. For example, an author might mention she is willing to rewrite as much as necessary, and the editor misinterprets this to mean his job is more ghostwriting than editing. A mistake like this can become very expensive in terms of both time and money.
Sadly, too many writers have had unpleasant editing experiences that left them with more headaches and less cash than before the editor entered the picture. Avoid this by clearly articulating your expectations, asking every question you can think of, and making sure your new editing partner is a good listener.
What questions do YOU ask of a potential editor? If you’ve had a less-than-successful editing experience, what questions do you wish you’d asked to avoid the problems you had?
Your expertise is writing; let me show you how my editorial expertise can help you take your writing to the next level. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation quote and sample edit (and all the questions you can ask) today.
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- 10 Reasons Why You Need an Editor for Indie Publishing (shareyourarticles.wordpress.com)
- The Importance of Freelance Editors (thedancingwriterblog.wordpress.com)
- 3 Things You Shouldn’t Hire an Editor to Do (changeitupediting.com)