RIGHT EDITOR vs WRONG EDITOR
… or …
The Match Game
Because I’m an editor AND an author I know I’m not the right editor/assistant for a whole lot of authors. That being said, I’m comfortable saying that I am an excellent editor/assistant for many authors. Those writer/authors are the folks with whom I share a passion for the genres of mystery/suspense, historical fiction, and sci-fi; uplifting poetry and art/photography; memoirs and expressions of Faith in true stories, miracles, and encouragement in daily life. Seeing these books finalized and in print is a wonderful feeling. Even more delightful are the times I’ve heard Readers say that a specific book was medicine to them—helping them realize that life’s pain is lessened by life’s joys even when we’re unaware of them.
Today, I’ll share a few thoughts about TYPES of editors and their niche in the editing world so that you can decide for yourself the type of editor your project needs.
- We’re most familiar with the Copy Editor. This person corrects questionable grammar, makes suggestions about repeated word usage, and looks at the style of your writing.
- A Copy Editor may also do Proofreading which looks a bit harder at verb tense usage, how writers use numbers, capitalizations, punctuation and, of course, correct spelling.
- The Format Editor takes your manuscript and places it in the necessary program (PDF, etc.) required for publishing—whether newspaper, magazine, online, ebook or printed book.
- There are also Research Editors who will confirm the references you’ve used and—if requested—make certain quotes are accurate.
- Content Editors are often called the melting-pot of editorial services. They look at your manuscript as a whole; get to know you as an author and your author voice; and review/edit accordingly. This means, the Content Editor does their best to keep the author’s voice alive whether the punctuation or verb/tense is perfect or not.
- Another style of editing is that of the Critique or Development Editor. This person helps a writer build their book from a basic idea, outline or partial draft. They work more closely with the writer—through multiple drafts—and can become an advisor on many book-related topics.
- A Substantive editor, much like the Critique or Development Editor, will work with writers to improve their fiction manuscript. Both Writer and Substantive Editor work to clean up story elements such as plot, character growth/changes, dialogue, voice, setting, word choice, sentence construction and syntax, and pace—anything that could improve the strength of the manuscript. Working with Point-of-View is a big element helping the Writer re-focus on the Big Picture of their story as a whole.
- Lastly I will mention the Ghostwriter. In 2014 NPR did a story about a ghostwriter who had just completed his 70th –yes seventieth—ghostwritten book project. Many years ago the concept of allowing someone else to write your book for you was a backroom discussion only to be shared with the publisher who was part of the contract. NOT SO TODAY. Those who “do” ghostwriting are superb listeners who can hear the voice of their clients and write-in-their-shoes making it possible for Author and Ghostwriter to enjoy their everyday jobs. Thus the reading public benefits from the best of both worlds—the “story” of the Author and the expertise of the Ghostwriter.
And there you have it—a comprehensive list of editors who are available to every writer should the need arise. If you’re looking for an excellent editor match, talk with publishers and self-publishers. Their current databases will give you the best options. ⚓︎
ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.