3 Things You Shouldn’t Hire an Editor to Do

3 Things You Shouldn’t Hire an Editor to Do
Don’t waste your money–read this article first!

When authors contact me about editing, they often don’t even know what they need. They know they should hire an editor at some point, but many are confused about terminology like developmental editing, copyediting, and proofreading. But there is SOOOO much a writer can do before paying an editor for his or her expertise—and I’d like to show you three ways to not only save your money but get the most bang for your editorial buck.

1.    Don’t pay an editor to edit your first draft.

No matter how brilliant your ideas are, or how beautifully you phrase them, do some serious revising before you hire professional help. Learning to revise your work is an important part of becoming a professional writer. Get rid of those extraneous words, the fluff that doesn’t say anything, the character who doesn’t advance the story. Consider every word, every sentence, every paragraph. There is no point in hiring a copyeditor to clean up work you may later delete in a revision.

Don’t pay an editor to edit your first draft. #editingtip #amwriting #selfpublishing Click To Tweet

2.    Don’t expect an editor to provide a service other than the one you’ve contracted for.

Your manuscript may need different types of editing help at different stages of your writing process. When you hire a developmental editor, you hire someone to help you with the big picture, not small details like punctuation. When you hire a proofreader, don’t expect help with your story arc; a proofreader is looking at details (like that pesky punctuation the developmental editor didn’t care about). If you’re uncertain about the type of editing help you need, ask me—I’ll be happy to help you figure it out. I’m here to help you make that book, newspaper article, blog post, advertising flyer—or anything else that strings together those amazing, marvelous things called words—sound as perfect and professional as it can be.

3.    Don’t hire an editor to tell you what you want to hear.

You are the author, and you have the right to disagree with your editor. You always have the right to ignore his or her advice and reject suggested changes. But if you engage intellectually in the editing process, you’ll find your writing improves and your ideas crystallize as a result. Remember that your editor hasn’t lived with your ideas, plot, or character—and that’s one of the reasons why you hired him or her to work with you. It is difficult to be objective about your writing when you are so close to it, so really consider every suggestion—then discuss your ideas and concerns, and make your editor your partner in creating the very best work you are capable of writing.

My love affair with words is the best tool in your arsenal as a published author. You came up with fantastic ideas, and I’ll help you make sure they come across the way you want them to. I love words, and I’d love to play with yours. Email me at cyjohnson5580@gmail.com, and let’s discuss how I can help you.

Happy Writing!



Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Copyediting or Proofreading: 5 Steps to Determine What You Need

copyediting or proofreadingIn the past few weeks I’ve received queries from several writers about my editing services. “How much do you charge to edit a 110,000 word novel?” and “What will it cost to copyedit my nonfiction book. It’s about 300 pages.”

These seem like perfectly reasonable questions, don’t they? The problem for me, as an editor, is that they are too vague. Editing is a very broad term that covers every function from development through line editing to proofreading—soup to nuts in editorial services, so to speak.

When you’re on a budget (and really, who isn’t?), it’s important to plan for your upcoming expenses. Your editorial budget should not be an exception!

All writers who publish—whether traditionally, independently, or through assisted publishing—will need some level of editorial services. When you plan to seek an agent or query publishers directly, you should use at least one professional editor before you submit. In the case of self-publishing, the responsibility for editing falls entirely on your shoulders, and you may want to seriously consider a wider range of editorial services before your work goes live.

You might need several different types of editing (at various stages of the project) before a final proofread. The hard part is knowing what editing service to ask for. Continue reading “Copyediting or Proofreading: 5 Steps to Determine What You Need”

Meet Two Winning Bloggers!

FREE EDITINGAs I mentioned in my post announcing the drawing for FREE EDITING, I love to start each day by reading other bloggers’ posts and anything related to writing and publishing. I usually find at least one gem to post on my Facebook page, and I love sharing with all of you.

I wanted to encourage more people to “like” my Facebook page, and I also wanted to thank those who are already followers, so I decided to give away FREE EDITING to someone from each group.

And now, I’m excited to announce the winners of both drawings! Continue reading “Meet Two Winning Bloggers!”

5 Reasons Why You MUST Hire a Proofreader

5 Reasons Why You MUST Hire a Proofreader There is an ongoing debate in the world of independent publishing about the need (or not) to hire a professional proofreader before approving your book for print. Some authors wouldn’t consider pushing “send” without first hiring at least one set of professional eyes, but it seems like many more still have a difficult time justifying the expense. I’m going to show you five reasons why the second group is wrong.

Continue reading “5 Reasons Why You MUST Hire a Proofreader”

Oops! Where’s the Proofreader???

I was on vacation last week, and even though I didn’t post a new blog, my brain just can’t shut off. We were fixing dinner one evening, and I pulled out the new bottle of olive oil. I did a double take when I saw this label: Continue reading “Oops! Where’s the Proofreader???”

And the Winner Is . . .

Drum roll please!

Image courtesy of suwatpo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of suwatpo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As a way to show my gratitude for everyone who has viewed, liked, and commented on my blog posts, I decided to have a drawing for one lucky writer to win free copyediting for up to 1,500 words of his or her project for free*. Everyone who commented on one of my blog posts or website pages or referred to one of them in his or her own blog post received one entry for a random drawing. Anyone who signed up to follow me received two additional entries. And everyone who was already following me automatically received two entries.

I was thrilled to receive numerous comments and new followers, and I appreciate each and every one! I wish I could give you ALL free editing, just to thank you (and because I really love what I do!), but since this is how I make my living, I have to limit the freebies for now.

However, I’ve decided to have a bonus drawing: Anyone who goes to my Facebook page at Change It Up Editing and Writing Services by 11:59 pm on Monday, December 3, 2012 and likes the page will be eligible for the same prize*, so click that link right now and enter for one more chance to win. You’ll be glad you did–I post lots of great stuff related to books and publishing that I think you’ll find interesting.

And now, without further ado, the winner of free copyediting for up to 1,500 words of his or her choice is:

Dylan Hearn, whose blog Virginal Words can be found here: http://dylanhearn.wordpress.com/

Congratulations to Dylan, and thanks again to everyone else who entered this drawing. Don’t forget, anyone who goes to my Facebook page at Change It Up Editing and Writing Services by 11:59 pm on Monday, December 3, 2012 and likes the page will be eligible for the same prize*, and I’ll announce that winner on Tuesday, December 4.

Happy Writing!


* Winner may send an electronic Word document of any length for free editing, and I will do a substantive line edit of the first 1,500 words using track changes.

How a Professional Editor Can Help You Get Published: Proofreading

Image courtesy of acclaimclipart.com

This is the third installment of an occasional series about freelance editing services. I wrote previously about developmental editing and copyediting; this time I’ll share some thoughts on proofreading, the last of three vital steps in your editing process.

You’ve written your manuscript, you’ve self-edited, you’ve even hired a professional freelance editor to be sure everything is perfect. So if it’s perfect, why do you need to hire a proofreader?

As the author, you’ll receive a copy of the final page proofs (also called a galley) and are expected to review it for final corrections. If you are under contract with a traditional publisher, a professional proofreader is usually hired to check for errors in layout, grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling, inconsistencies in style, cross-referencing of page numbers and other details in the manuscript, and to note any glaring errors. If you are self-publishing, you want to hire your own proofreader. Trust me, even if you were an A student in your college composition class, you want to hire a professional proofreader. Why?

None of us can be experts at everything, and no matter how well written a manuscript is, we all make mistakes—even professional editors and proofreaders do! Heck, I’ll admit that I’ve sent out e-mails I’ve checked and rechecked, and when the reply came back, sure enough, I noticed I’d typed “your” instead of “you.” It happens. Consequently, I have every blog proofread before I post it, because I’m just like you—I want my work to be as professional as possible.

As The Proofreading Girl puts it, “Arguably, the best reason to hire a professional proofreader is that typos, grammar gaffes and spelling errors, once printed or published, are immortal. Would you want a proofreading fiasco like one of these real-world examples to be your legacy?” Her examples include: “McDonald’s Drive Thru” and “Boy’s Department,” obvious mistakes that a professional proofreader would have caught.

Don’t let mistakes like these be your calling card! #writetip #proofreading #amediting Click To Tweet

Don’t let mistakes like these be your calling card! Even if you’re on a tight budget, hire a professional editor and a professional proofreader if you are serious about your writing. If there’s a will, there’s a way—don’t just depend on your software’s spell and grammar checkers and think “that’s good enough,” because it isn’t. Again, from The Proofreading Girl: “Realistically, it’s common for even good writers to struggle with pesky pronouns (who or whom?), apostrophes (its or it’s?), homophones (principle or principal?), and hyphens (well deserved or well-deserved?). It doesn’t help that programs like Microsoft Word’s Spelling and Grammar Check can actually make things worse rather than better. While these features are helpful in certain capacities, they are not nearly as accurate or as skillful as a good proofreader. So, if the document is important, chances are that you should hire one.”

A professional proofreader is your last line of defense before your book, blog, magazine article, or proposal greets the world, so invest in yourself and your professional reputation by hiring one before you say “Print!”