Sunday, May 29, 2011

You need an editor

SOME PEOPLE AREN'T SURE they need an editor. One "professional" writer once told me that she didn't need an editor. She could spell and write, she said.

That's frightening to me; everyone -- everyone from Joe Schmoe to a great writer like William Faulkner or Ernest Hemingway -- needs an editor. I doubt that this woman is a Schmoe, but she's probably not a Faulkner or Hemingway, either.

And people wonder if I'm the kind of editor they're seeking. You don't edit books about spirituality, do you? Well, yes. I edited a novel on spirituality two years ago, and I edited a non-fiction book about spirituality last year.

You don't edit books about cosmetics and nail / toenail care, do you? I edited an ebook about nail / toenail care, and she seemed very happy. I had a lot of work to do, and the book was greatly improved.

Do you edit for businessmen? Yes, I've done editing for a restaurateur and a lawyer, plus a businessman in Australia who is looking to change the world.

I edited a doctoral dissertation last year, and I've even edited individual articles before they were sent to online magazines.

I've also done other editing and proofreading, including several novels and lots of non-fiction books.
If you're not sure, just ask. One novelist wasn't sure -- people said she wrote like Faulkner -- so I suggested that she pay for one chapter. If she liked my work, we'd continue. I've edited most of two of her novels, and I was pleased to learn that my editing skills work well with fiction. She's becoming a better writer, and she's interested in me editing a third book.

Another writer wasn't sure, so she asked for references. I gave two names and email addresses (including the William Faulkner clone), and she came back the next day; she wanted me to edit her book. I think it went well.
Last fall, a would-be novelist found me, and we're both glad he did. He's improved by leaps and bounds as I've edited his book a second time.

When writers tell me they don't need me, I don't back down. They need me; they just don't know it yet.

Contact: I can be reached at or Also, my Twitter handle is EDITORatWORK.

(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)

More blog entries by Tom Gillispie

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

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