Do you need an editor? Here’s one way of finding out.
Yes, for quite a while I’ve been doing copy-editing and proofreading for other writers, and so far I’ve got nothing but praise from all the authors I’ve worked with – except, to be honest, one writer who had a minor grumble, but there’s one in every crowd.
But first, I’m not doing this on my own. Instead, I’m working with a fantastic crew called Polgarus Studios. Jason and Marina Anderson are dead-set experts on formatting and preparing manuscripts for publishing, both as ebooks and print editions. Formatting a manuscript is tricky stuff.
Cutting a long story short (hey… an editing pun) I’ve teamed up with these folks as one of their copy-editors and proofreaders. Which means that even if you contact me directly, I’ll still ask you to deal with Marina and Polgarus. It’s a scheduling, logistical thing – besides, you’ll pay the same rates, plus you have the added security of knowing that if I get hit by a bus or axe-murdered on the way to the pub, Marina will find someone to finish the job.
You don’t have to use all of the services at Polgarus. If you just want editing, that’s fine. Only formatting? Sure, they’ve formatted over 3500 books.
General rule-of-thumb for my editing is the Chicago Manual of Style, particularly when you’re aiming at largely a US readership, but if UK spelling and grammar is preferred, that’s no problem. However, I always want to point out to authors that CMOS and any UK equivalent is primarily a journalist standard and sometimes shouldn’t be applied too strictly to long-form writing — especially when a writer’s unique voice and style, and a smooth narrative flow, needs to be taken into account. And don’t get me started on comma usage and dialogue tags.
By the way, as a copy editor I’m not looking just for poor spelling, bad grammar or missing words. I’m on the lookout for anything that might prompt an unfortunate online review or negative comment from a reader. As you probably know, they can be pretty mercenary.
Some people will tell you that published writers can’t be good editors. My argument is that after writing and publishing a few million words, I’ve got a pretty good idea what you should be doing, too.
Rates and conditions are on the Polgarus website. If you want a small sample of editing done, that’s okay. That’s an excellent way of determining if you really want or need an editor. I’m happy to discuss editing directly, if you want to drop me a line here. Some authors have concerns about genre-specific styles and standards that certainly need working through. But like I said, if we start working together, for me to do the right thing I prefer it has to be through Polgarus – and you won’t be sorry about that.