Sunday, August 5, 2012

You really DO 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. Fiction and non-fiction.

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.

Do you edit for businessmen? Yes, I've done editing for a North Carolina restaurateur and a Virginia 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 novels, non-fiction books and one ebook. I edited more than two dozen non-fiction books that were written for a British audience but are being re-targeted for Americans.

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 wants me to edit a third novel. We have regularly conversed on Facebook.

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 non-fiction book on spirituality. I think it went well.

In late 2010, a would-be novelist found me, and we're both glad he did. He's improved by leaps and bounds, and he's looking for an agent or publisher.

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

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More EDITOR@WORK blog entries

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Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie
• Yer outta there!

1 comment:

  1. I would consider this account a complete school for me. It sounds very rich and promising to read.