Who’s an editor? Choosing an editor for your writing.

Welcome to the second in our series of guests posts from Cressida Downing all about working with editors.  Today Cressida is looking at ways to get your work edited and how to chose an editor.

Who’s an editor?

Just as anyone can write, anyone can be an editor – but it’s not always about who can but who should.

In the first instance, you – the author – are your own and most powerful editor. In over twenty years of working in publishing, I don’t think I’ve ever met a successful author who doesn’t revise their own work.

Sometimes you find yourself trying out ideas or phrases in your head, so you edit before it even reaches the page, but the vast majority of authors tend to write a first draft, and then take a look at what they’ve got and start rewriting.

If you’re struggling with writing, it can be that you’re trying to edit too early in the process. Being over-critical or cautious can silence your creative urges. It’s much easier to base your ideas on where your work is going if you have it on the page in front of you.

Once you’re happy with what you’ve got, there’s the friend or peer-review group. Peer review can be incredibly helpful – as long as you’ve found the right peers. There’s nothing more dispiriting than a fellow author tearing your work to shreds because they never read fantasy for example, and have no knowledge of the market. Equally useless are the bucket-loads of empty praise, although they may seem more pleasant at the time.

There are a wide range of writing communities – on the net and in the real world – take some time to find one that chimes with you.

Once you’ve been through it – and your writing community have given you feedback – who else can help you?

Freelance editors can offer a wide range of services so again – look for one that gives you a good fit. If you’re happy with the text as a whole, but need a fresh pair of eyes to look at grammatical and spelling errors, then you need a copy editor. If you’d like feedback on whether this is suitable for trade publication, you need an editorial service to offer you a report. If you’re taking your text forward yourself – as a self-published author – but want it in the best possible shape, it’s worth asking for an editorial report that will polish what you’ve got and get it ready for the big wide world.

If you’re paying for editorial services, always make it clear what service you’re asking for and make sure that the editor can provide it. Ask them about their qualifications and what experience they have. Some editorial services use published authors to edit, have a look at those authors’ works to ensure a good fit before you take them on.

Who edits your work? How do you find that?


You can read all of Cressida’s posts on editing here.

Cressida will be speaking about editing at Eroticon, find out more about the speakers and buy your tickets at the Eroticon conference site.

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