5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Editing Experience by Joanna Penn
1. Don’t pay your editor to pick up your (literary) dirty socks.
As a writer, you’ll know if you’ve scattered your work with careless
errors, but if you leave those in for the editor to deal with, you’re
taking their time and effort away from other work they could be doing on
your text. You’re paying for this service, don’t waste it getting them to do
your dirty work. To labour the analogy a little further, clear the
floor so they can spend their time mopping it properly.
2. Make sure you’re getting the service your writing needs.
Authors tend to want to get their work line-edited. There’s
something so tempting about getting every word you’ve written carefully
pored over and lovingly polished. The danger is that you will be getting the fine detail right, while
the structure or characters need serious alterations. If you suspect
you will be changing anything major, don’t get a fine edit done.
3. Word count costs.
Reading and editing take time, and the longer a book is, the longer the time needed. Before you send your book out to get edited – any form of editing –
cut as much as you can, and it will save you a considerable sum. A good
editor will be giving you advice that reflects on your style, and can
be related to other work, so don’t be tempted to send in the first three
epic novels in your series. The first one will probably give the
editor enough to work on.
4. Make sure you’ve got the right editor.
Shop around. There are an awful lot of editors out there, so try and
get a recommendation or check for reviews. Some specialise in
particular genres. There is no point sending your sci-fi fantasy novel out to an editor
who never reads them. Equally if you want your non-fiction scientific
book looked at, make sure the editor you choose has the relevant
5. Advice you don’t like, don’t burn the report.
This last point is most pertinent for structural or critical
reviews. If you ask an expert to look at your writing and they point
out things they feel you’re not doing well – it’s not a pleasant moment. The temptation is to think they’ve totally missed your point.
They’re idiots. What have you spent all that money on anyway? There is
no way you will keep your hero alive past chapter seven, that would be
compromising your creative integrity! Take a breath, shout at something inanimate, and see what parts of
the report could be saying something useful. An editor is really just a
very very enthusiastic reader, and they want your writing to do well.
You don’t have to swallow all their suggestions whole, but do take time
to consider what they’re saying.