Great Expectations: What to Expect From Your Editor

  • All Editors Are Not Made Equal.

Just like any profession, editors come with varying levels of experience, expertise, and specialties. Some editors may excel in developmental editing, helping you shape your story, while others might be more adept at copy editing, focusing on grammar and punctuation. It’s crucial to match your project with an editor who has the right skills and genre preferences for the job.

  • Know What Kind of Editing You Need, or at Least Know That You Don’t Know.

Editing is a multi-faceted process that includes developmental editing, copy editing, line editing, and proofreading. If you’re unsure which type of editing your manuscript needs, start by educating yourself or consult with a professional. Knowing the difference can save you time and ensure you get the most out of the editing process.

  • Time Is Money.

Editors charge for their time, and the more thorough the editing, the longer it will take. Be prepared to invest both time and money into the process. Set realistic timelines and budgets, and understand that rushing the process might compromise the quality of the final product. Most editors will include a free consultation but expect to be charged for ongoing communication and coaching outside of the contracted service.

  • Expect Criticism.

An editor’s job is to help you improve your manuscript, which often involves pointing out flaws and areas for improvement. While it can be tough to hear, constructive criticism is invaluable. Embrace it as an opportunity to grow as a writer and improve your work.

  • Communication Is Key, but Boundaries Reign Supreme

Establish clear communication with your editor from the outset. Discuss your expectations, preferred communication methods, and timelines. While updates and feedback loops are essential to avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smoother editing process, it’s equally important to respect each other’s boundaries. Respect clear limits on communication frequency and response times to maintain a professional and productive relationship. For example, try to collect your thoughts into one email rather than frequent small responses.

Some editors will be frequent communicators. I am not. If that is your style, state it up front so we can match you with the right editor for you.

  • Understand the Editing Process.

Familiarize yourself with the steps your editor will take and the order in which they will work. Knowing the process can help you prepare better and understand the rationale behind the edits and suggestions made by your editor.

  • Be Prepared to Compromise.

While your vision for your manuscript is important, sometimes compromises need to be made for the sake of clarity, flow, or marketability. Trust your editor’s experience and be open to making changes that will benefit the overall quality of your work.

  • But the Final Decision Is Yours.

While your editor’s suggestions are meant to improve your manuscript, remember that the final decision rests with you. Weigh their advice carefully, but stay true to your voice and vision. It’s your work, and you have the ultimate say in how it is presented.