When I first began to write, I made many mistakes, and I will undoubtedly continue to make more mistakes; so, I gather knowledge and teach myself, to try to prevent those mistakes. There are, however, times when along that sometimes-daunting path of writing that I need help. Friends and family, although well intentioned, are subjective with my writing; therefore, I need the help of an editor.
One of the mistakes I made when I wrote my first story was not seeking out the right editor.
I have comprised a list of what I consider to be a right editor.
An editor that is like-minded
Editors differ and so do their tastes. I had one editor who had a very different idea of the direction of my book. That is not to say, the idea was bad, but it did not match mine. Of course, there are always going to be areas where I don’t agree with my editor but there must be a general agreement on the vision of the book.
A reliable editor
I can have the most skilled and educated editor, but if he/she is unreliable, that will halt my headway and results. Even a contract, if not adhered to, is useless. An editor must be reliable. However, having said that, I also have an obligation as a writer to be reliable, by keeping to my scheduled appointments, deadlines, and payments.
An editor with excellent credentials
An editor needs to be a master in his field. I wanted an editor that knows far more than I do, one that can help improve not just my novel but make me a better writer.
“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton
A well established editor
An editor needs to be well established and have worked in the industry many years, one who knows the ins and outs and has ties that I, as a writer, may not have. I have learned that connections are essential to success.
Knowing what I wanted in an editor, how did I go about finding the right one?
Referrals are the best way to go to get a competent editor. Unfortunately, I had no one close to give me a referral nor did I personally know any editors, so I went to the best to find the best. I took books that I had enjoyed reading and looked to see who edited them. From that list, I picked out one and contacted him.
His employment with a publishing house was a conflict of interest in taking on freelance work, but he was kind enough to give me a referral.
Luck is always an essential ingredient in success
I was fortunate to find a great editor, but I also know that luck was involved. I contacted the referral and luckily, we connected well and he had an opening available. Being in the right place at the right time determines success.
Remember, you get what you pay for
I know that for outstanding service, you need to pay well. In life, you usually get what you pay for, and it is the same with a good editor. If you desire the best then be prepared to pay for it. I discovered a good editor is worth every penny.
I was fortunate to find a good editor for my novel. He has not only helped me to improve my book and my writing but has become my mentor. Thank you, Pat Lobrutto!
Pat is an editorial consultant that has been editing for over 30 years, and in my opinion is one of the best. – www.lobrutto.com