I’ve been editing for over a decade now, and I’m proud to say I have a pretty diversified portfolio. High fantasy, horror, body-swap mystery, memoir, satire, romance, military strategy…
If it’s a genre, I’ve probably put eyes on it in some sort of professional sense.
I’ve always loved reading. Ever since I was a little girl puzzling through picture books by the light of my nightlight (kindergarten was going too slow, so I decided to teach myself to read), I’ve been enchanted by stories. I love what I do, and I do what I love. I marvel at the blessings of that every single day.
I wear a variety of hats in the book world including writer, formatter, and publisher, but my editing hat is always near and dear to my heart. I love stories. I love working with the people who write them even more. I’ve helped dozens of clients, many of whom have gone on to sign with agents, win major awards, and publish successfully through both indie and traditional avenues.
However, passion, prowess, and even previous successes do not an editor make. It’s not enough to hire an editor. You need to hire the editor who is right for you.
That difference makes all the difference.
Before you hire an editor, you need to ensure that editor’s process and style are the right fit for your needs. Like any teacher, coach, or technical professional, each editor has a slightly different style and method of conducting their work. As an author, it’s important to know what your vision is before you approach an editor so you can accurately identify and express your needs.
Do you need developmental or line edits? Do you want someone who sends notes at the end of the process or an editor who is more hands-on? How well do you take feedback, and what is your ultimate goal throughout the process? Does your editor work for a flat fee or charge per word? What is your budget, and are you willing to work through multiple rounds of edits?
These are all important questions to think about and by no means the complete list of topics to discuss with your potential editor. Before I take on any client, I set up a “meet and greet” chat to discuss their manuscript, goals, and expectations. A wise woman once taught me that you can’t have expectations without agreements, and I want to clarify those agreements from the get-go.
Am I the right editor for you? I want to say yes (After all, who doesn’t love more business?), but I can’t honestly make that decision for you. However, what I can do is tell you a bit about my editing process and what working with me looks like.
Like I said before, I don’t take on clients without meeting them and discussing their manuscript beforehand. If you’re interested in working with me, I’ll set up a low-key, thirty-minute meeting to discuss your goals, expectations, timetable, and any questions you may have. I also take this time to provide a bit of consultation based on what you’re looking for. You may think you’re ready for line edits, but if you’re still in the developmental stage, that would be a waste of money. Before we begin, I want to ensure you’re only hiring for services that are in your best interests. No two publishing roads look the same, so I take this time to discuss what editing would look like for you based on your goals and your budget. I also use this call as a cursory assessment of how we will work together. The full editing process takes months, and I want to make sure my personality and editing style are a good fit.
If you would like to move forward after our call, I offer a free, five-page editing sample. If you’re satisfied with the results, we draw up a contract and get to work.
My Editing Style
Put simply, I work with my clients, not for them. I begin with in-line edits and markups in the actual text that provide immediate, contextual feedback. If I laugh out loud at a passage, I’ll pop in a comment and tell you. If there needs to be a comma or you’re missing a word, I’ll also use those in-line edits to show you where and how the correction needs to be made.
After I’ve done a chunk of in-line edits (usually about 20,000 words), I send my authors a more comprehensive editing letter. I use these letters to highlight overarching, big-picture concepts like plot arc, character agency, and narrative tension. After each letter, my authors and I schedule an hour-long meeting to discuss our thoughts, brainstorm ideas, and address any questions either of us may have.
More often than not, my authors feel like friends rather than clients by the end of the process. (Don’t take my word for it; it’s in the testimonials.) I’m in my zone of genius working in an interactive, team-based atmosphere, and the last thing I want is any of my authors to feel isolated or that I’m inaccessible.
I can be as hands-on or hands-off as you like. If you prefer a cold list of edits at the end of a manuscript, I can certainly oblige. But my authors and I get the best results when working together and truly engaging on both ends—when we see each other as teammates.
You’ll like me if…
You need a good dose of encouragement along with critique, like working with friends more than associates, and want to develop your skills as an author.
Many authors have described me as their “personal cheerleader.” Yes, I’m going to point out what needs to be tweaked, changed, or improved, but I’m also a firm believer in pointing out what my authors do well and what I love about their manuscripts. I’m not out to red mark your manuscript like an elementary school teacher, and I know that critique is hard in any shape and form. I’m an author myself, and I enjoy when my readers come back to me with the things they enjoyed.
Ultimately, I believe in the power of story and that everyone has a story worth telling. I don’t edit because I like nitpicking at grammar or pointing out typos. I truly want my authors to leave the experience with a better understanding of prose, storycraft, and writing in general. (Again, check out those testimonials!) If I point something out that needs to be changed or done better, I’ll explain why. If something is done particularly well or is working, I’ll also explain why. If you don’t walk away from my edits having learned something, I haven’t done my job properly.
Instead of telling you what to do, I want to explore how we can make improvements.
I might not be a good fit if…
You’re looking for someone to do the work for you. When I return a draft, it’s not “clean” or ready for publication. That is, all the tracking changes in Microsoft Word will still be there.
What this means is that I never make any changes to any client’s text without their approval. I can suggest edits and changes, but ultimately, this is YOUR manuscript. If you disagree with me or don’t want to change something, that’s completely up to you. I make my suggestions based on my experience and professional training, but that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to agree to every change I suggest just because you hired me.
What the tracking changes mean for you is that you have to go through and do some of the work yourself. For simple issues like grammar and spelling, this is as easy as clicking the green checkmark icon to approve my suggestion. For more conceptual-based edits (plot threads, character arcs, cohesiveness through the narrative, etc.), I will explain my thoughts, give suggestions on how to fix the issue, hash through those issues during editing calls, and assist you in every way I can. But I’m not going to write your book for you.
My job as an editor isn’t to “fix” your writing. It’s to come alongside you through the process of becoming a better writer. If you want someone to write your book (a service I do provide), you’re looking for a ghostwriter. Those two hats are very different, and they each serve different needs.
Am I the right editor for you? That totally depends on your wants, needs, and expectations. I’m not the best editing choice for everyone, and that’s completely okay. As much as I love business, working together with my authors is much more important to me than the actual work itself.
If you would like to learn more about me, my process, and what it’s like to work with me, I would love to hear from you. You can always shoot me a message, and if you think editing or any other of my services might be a good fit, I would love to schedule a chat.