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 regularly converse 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. (He's since sold the two books I edited for him.)
When writers tell me they don't need me, I don't back down. They need me; they just don't know it yet.
More EDITOR@WORK blog entries
Entries from The Dog Blog
Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)
More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie