What exactly is editing?

Editing is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of processes on the path to finishing a book. There are different kinds of editors depending on what type of editing you’re looking for. The two types of editing I provide are developmental and line editing.

Developmental editing focuses on strengthening the story, characters, and plot. It helps the writer develop their story into something entertaining and marketable.

Line editing focuses on the “sound” and clarity of the language. It helps writers pretty up their prose, maintain a consistent style, and avoid mistakes and errors.

So I send you my book and you make it perfect?

Not exactly.

Editors work with authors by pointing out where their work could be strengthened. It is up to the author to make the changes and correct the issues. Editors do not rewrite your book for you, though they may offer suggestions for ways to improve the wording.

The typical edit will consist of notes similar to the following:

You’re telling here instead of showing. Could you show that she’s afraid of the bear? For example, her legs could shake, she could scream, etc.

I’m not sure what you’re saying here, the phrasing is awkward.

This scene doesn’t seem to be serving any purpose in your novel. Cutting it out would strengthen this chapter.

What if I don’t agree with an edit?

This is bound to happen. More likely than not, it will happen many times throughout the editing process. After all, you slaved over your novel, it’s your baby, and as your editor, I’m an outsider coming into the cradle and telling you what to do with your precious bundle of joy. Sometimes that sucks. Sometimes it hurts. And sometimes we will disagree.

But don’t panic.

If you disagree with an edit, just shoot me an email asking why I’m suggesting the change. Then I’ll give you a rundown of my reasoning and how I believe the change will strengthen your book. Once you understand my perspective, you can either agree and make the change or disagree and ignore my advice. Editing is not about doing everything the editor says, it’s about bringing in an educated and experienced outsider to make insightful comments and suggestions.

My book has sex, violence, profanity, religious themes, homosexuality, etc. – Will you still edit it?

Absolutely! I do not have limitations on the types of novels I will edit. Trust me, I’ve seen it all. You won’t shock or offend me.

Are there any genres you won’t edit?

Generally, no, I will edit any genre. The only exception to this is historical fiction that needs fact checking. I do not include fact checking in my editing services because I do not feel qualified to do so, but I am happy to take on historical novels that do not need fact checking.

Do you edit books for kids or young adults?

Yes! In fact, I consider middle grade and young adult fiction among my specialties.

What are your favorite types of books?

I love books with an unusual perspective – unique characters, strange settings, a distinct narrative voice. Sometimes that ends up being literary, other times it’s horror, science fiction, or fantasy. I love being transported into an interesting world, even if that world is just the mind of a rich and detailed character.

Do you edit short stories?

Yes, but anything under 10,000 words is lumped under “mentoring” and charged hourly.

Do you edit non-fiction?

Yes. Though it does not make up the bulk of my work, I have edited a variety of non-fiction titles. For non-fiction, it is often helpful for me to get involved early in the process as I can help you organize your book and see gaps where more research, information, or details are needed. If the book is complete, I recommend that we start with a developmental edit so that we can address any organizational or content weaknesses before perfecting the language in a line edit.

I have a charity, would you be willing to edit the charity’s book/pamphlet/website for free?

I do a select number of charity edits per year (in both fiction and non-fiction). As with all of my edits, please book a few months in advance. When applying for a free edit, you will need to provide proof of your charity’s existence. I may also ask for information about the charity’s financial standing and efficiency.

I can’t afford your services, can you offer a discount or free services?

Unfortunately, no. I receive about a dozen requests a week for free or discounted services. Because I can’t verify my clients’ financial standing and because there is already so much demand for my time, it’s not something I can offer right now. What I suggest is that you pay for an hour or two of mentoring, and I will summarize the main areas that need improvement. This should be enough to get you headed in the right direction.

I’m a freelance editor, will you send me your extra clients?

No. I’m surprised at how often I receive emails asking this question. My clients choose to work with me because they like my editing style, know me from Twitter, were referred to me by my past clients, or read my articles on writing. I don’t have “extra” clients. The vast majority of writers who want to work with me are willing to wait until I become available.