The Challenge of Finding an Editor

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The Process of choosing an Editor – Unless you’re an editor yourself, chances are you’ll need to have a relationship with a professional, who can help you to be certain that you cross your t’s, dot your I’s, that your grammar and punctuation are top notch, and that your writing is clearly expressing all that you want it to.

Professional editors are especially adept at reading our work in a way that helps us to turn our vision into reality, to reach the readership we target, and to do it effectively and efficiently.

Finding a good editor is, by far, the biggest challenge that I’ve had, and I know that many of my writer friends feel the same. I have taken notice of multi-tasking authors’ tendency to be exhausted all the time, working on editing jobs full-time, and on their own compositions full-time. There just isn’t room for them to do their best work on both! I have often found typos and errors that should have been caught.

These people are making a living as an editor, and, chances are, they have a ton of work to do, while pursuing their own writing goals; this will not work for me. You cannot risk spending your money on an editor who is giving you half-baked editing, or rushed work.   Remember that you are very probably one of several or many clients, and your editor may have no time, in that whirl of responsibility, to give you their best.

My advice is to find an English teacher or professor of English from a college who has no aspirations of becoming an author. There are, also, retired English majors who actually enjoy editing as a hobby, rather than for simply making a profit. They take a real interest in watching others achieve their writing goals.

If you don’t have a big budget for editing, you might try contacting or visiting a local college and checking the English department for outstanding English majors; they usually will not charge a lot.  Follow up by having several people you trust proof read your work, as well.

If you are an editor who’s inspired to become a writer, please don’t take this personally. I have friends who are editors, and are aspiring to become career novelists. While I respect their goals, I think they understand how I feel, and even agree with me on a lot of my points.

I suggest that my writing contemporaries investigate, do your homework, and check out  references and samples before you commit to an editor. I do agree that we should “never say never,” and it could happen that I someday hire a writer to do editing work for me, but as I see it from here, I will try to avoid that.  Good luck to you in this process!

6 Comments
  1. Jack Eason says

    Your other alternative Andrea is to follow my example. Having recently parted company with my former publisher, I am now an ‘indie’ in every sense of the word. While I have a good command of my mother tongue English English and some experience in editing, I like to put my work out to others. To this end, I have recently farmed out what will be my first independent publication – Turning Point, a science fiction novel set in the twentieth century, to three fellow writers who I not only admire, but also completely trust, to act as ‘beta readers’. 😀

  2. Andrew J. Sacks says

    Andrea, thank you for the good advice and the plea to remember that one’s own writing can indeed find a home–but watch out for “distractions” along the way.

  3. Anderson Andrea says

    Hi Jack,

    I have always enjoyed your feedback, and I will consider following your example. Thank you!

    Andrea

  4. Anderson Andrea says

    Hi Andrew,

    I am glad that I was able to help. Good luck to you!

    Andrea

  5. MFBurbaugh says

    My command of SPaG started the day I was born and I have the great sense to know I failed all three starting in Kindergarten all the way through college.

    So what do I like to do? Write. Go figure!

  6. Rick Carufel says

    I see no problem finding an editor. The problem is the outrageous fees they think their services are worth.

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