The Editing Process
After you’ve self-edited and revised your story, with gallons of blood, sweat and tears, and can barely stand to read through it one more time, you’re ready for professional editing. This involves three steps:
- Content Editing (which looks at plot development)
- Copy Editing (which looks at the mechanics and flow of every line)
- Proof Reading (which looks for typos and glaring errors)
What do Seasoned Writers Recommend?
- Spend as much money as you can for good editing.
- Pay people to do things you’re not good at.
For Covert Danger, I chose not to do step one, the professional content edit. Instead, I worked closely with a terrific critique partner and two strong beta readers.
I put my money into step two, copy editing. The intricacies of punctuation elude me.
I’m planning to do the final proofreading on my own, but if I need help, I’ll get it.
My First Copy Editor
My copy editor is Dr. Philip Newey and his business is called All-read-E. He’s amazing. Check out the first paragraph of his bio:
Writing has always been part of my life. Professionally, I have completed two doctorates, one in Theology and one in Biology, both of which required a very high standard of presentation. I have published several articles in high quality academic journals. I have professional writing experience in both the humanities and the sciences. I have taught at tertiary level in both fields. Perhaps even more importantly, I have worked alongside students in the capacity of a tutor and advisor, as they struggle to put the right words, in the right order and in the right context, down on paper. As a result of this experience, I have an excellent understanding of spelling and grammar. Alongside this professional work, I have been writing stories and other forms of fiction for most of my life. I have two published novels, one other is currently in preparation for publishing, and I am presently writing a fourth. More recently I have been reviewing and proofreading manuscripts as a favour to others. (from his website)
What is the Process Like?
I sent Philip the first seven pages of my book for a free sample edit. These pages have been in numerous contests and have even been through the hands of three other editors, but he still found significant mistakes. He also gave me a quote that blew me away ($407. for a 72 thousand word manuscript- Australian).
I had queried a few editors and they estimated the cost to be about $800 US, and said it would depend on how long it took them. This is understandable, but scary when you’re on a fixed budge. Was I willing to send out my manuscript not knowing what the final cost would be? I had a hard time swallowing that one.
I sent Philip my manuscript. Three weeks later he sent me three documents:
- a ‘markup’ version, which retained all the changes he made.
- a ‘revised’ version, in which all the changes had been ‘pre-accepted’, and
- a report.
It was like Christmas in an e-mail! I not only received excellent editing, but also first rate coaching. I knew I had issues with commas, but I didn’t realize how much I had to learn about commas, tense, voice in POV and the mighty hyphen. It’s been a steep learning curve.
Was the fact he’s Australian a problem? Not at all. He edited my work for an American audience.
What about the fact that he’s male? Again, not a problem. He’s very professional, and well-read.
My Reference for his Website
I wrote the following testimonial for Philip’s website:
“Philip is an exceptionally thorough and professional copy-editor. But he’s actually more than that. He’s a skilled writing coach. Philip provided me with detailed edits and a summary report of my writing, which is helping me improve my craft. Philip is easy to work with, responds to e-mails promptly, gives solid quotes on prices, and is easy to talk to. He’s like a writer’s Yoda, wise, caring and perceptive. I can’t thank him enough for all his help. And did I mention he’s affordable….”
Do you have any interesting tales about editing?
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