What Makes a Good Editor?
Editing is an important part of the writing process because no matter how careful you are, everybody, including writers, will make mistakes. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to catch them all in your own work since you are the one writing it and already know it inside out and backwards. Having an editor means that you don’t have to worry about publishing or submitting your documents with these embarrassing errors; instead, your work is at its best.
A professional editor can also improve your writing so that it is more accessible to its readers. This partly comes down to improving the flow of it, but can also mean adjusting certain words where necessary to improve comprehension. In addition, a good editor will make sure you are writing for your intended audience. Just think of the difference in style between a fiction book and a dissertation. While contractions such as ‘don’t’ are perfectly fine for a novel, they are much too informal for a serious dissertation. This article offers five tips on what to look for when searching for an editor.
A good editor will:
- Respect your voice as a writer. You want to make sure you find an editor who can improve your work while still keeping your voice, not someone who makes heavy revisions and changes the tone of the document. To find out about an editor’s style, many editing service providers offer a free sample edit, where you submit a document and the editor edits a page or two. This allows you to see how the editor works as well as the quality of the editing.
- Respond to and is open to communication. Communication is important when working with a freelance editor. It is frustrating when you ask an editor to focus on a specific thing and find out when your document is returned that your request was ignored. It is equally frustrating to send your editor a message and not receive a response. A good editor will be responsive to your requests and answers any questions or concerns you may have.
- Respect deadlines. When you pay for editing services it is important that your editor respects the deadlines that you communicate and that they agree to. There is nothing worse than paying forediting services and not having your document returned when you need it or when you were promised to receive it. A good editor will respect your deadlines and return your edited document on or before the deadline.
- Communicate their edits and suggestions clearly. When you receive your edited document back you should understand the editor’s comments and suggestions. While there are always exceptions to this, a good editor will be able to clearly communicate what they mean in their editing feedback.
- Improve your document. A good editor will make sure your written document, whether it is an essay, research paper, thesis, book, or other document, is easily understandable and free of errors.
After you have pinpointed a few potential editors, it is a good idea to try out their services by requesting a free sample edit. Many editors will edit a small portion of your document, from one paragraph to a page or so, in order to give you an example of their editing style. When you need writing and editing help, it is crucial that your editor knows what you want and has the ability to make that happen.
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