Four editors. I’ve worked with four of them this year for different publishing houses. You all know that CINDERS OF CASTLEREA, UNDER A SCOTTISH SKY & THE MILANESE STARS are currently undergoing various stages of editing. And I have to say that finding the right editor is gold. The right editor can really make your book sing which is why I think it’s great that publishing houses pair editors with work that resonates with them.
So here’e what I learned from them:
Every Editor Has A Different Style
Every editor is different. They’ve studied at different places and universities. They may have worked at different publishing houses before and so their style of editing will vary. Some may want to correct major flaws first, others may just correct punctuation and grammar before addressing issues. Be prepared for different styles.
Editors Work Differently
Some have a very teachable style. Like when we were editing “Where the Stars Rise,” the editors Derwin Mak and Lucas Law, taught me a lot about fact-checking and using commas. They didn’t have to but they did. I’m so grateful to them. Others will leave comments and ask you to consider changes. Some will change it and ask you to simply approve.
Editors Have Weaknesses & Strengths Too
Like us writers I’ve learned that editors have weaknesses and strengths too. Some are good at checking references or new words, or British and American spelling, others may not. Some will be grammar nazis and not correct too much sentence structure. Each one has different strengths and it’s your job to supplement the weakness.
Good Editors Do Multiple Rounds
I’ve learned that each of my editors worked through three different rounds of edits, which meant almost six to eight rounds of reading for me. Yes. And I caught an error in my work every single time, so did my editor. Editors polish and polish and polish your manuscript till it shines.
Editors Are Your Friends
When you see all the red in your manuscript, you may feel the urge to rant or worse cry. I usually expect the red. Welcome it even. The more red you see, the better the book will be. It’s better to smooth it all now, instead of after a bad review. Don’t write back the same day if you have questions or something to say. Wait for a day. Let your bitterness pass. Your editor is your friend. He or she will not mollycoddle you into appeasing your ego. He has a job and he has to deliver. Editors are not your enemy.
Editors Will Also Miss Things
If you find an editor has missed a full stop, don’t write back asking him to check his vision. We all read fast and not everything will be seen. I know as I’ve just completed my fourth edit on Under a Scottish Sky how I’ve missed so many things. And I know my story like the back of my hand. I switched genders, midway a land rover became a jeep and I’d messed up so many words. They will miss stuff occasionally. They’re human. That’s because they don’t know the story as well as you.
Editors Work Hard
They really do. In a day where you’re just reading one story, yours. They’re reading multiple works correcting, fine tuning and polishing them. It’s a lot of words and stories and worlds and characters. It’s hard work. Cut them some slack.