Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hiring a Good Editor

On March 30 I mentioned all the e-mails I've been getting lately from writer friends who are following the arguments for and against e-books vs. legacy publishers.

Here's a new one: "Author, sell thyself."

What especially struck me was Amanda Hocking's experience:
"Hocking [has] complained more than once about the trouble she's had finding freelance editors capable of catching the typos and grammatical errors that keep turning up in her novels."

My goodness, Amanda! I wish you had dropped me a line. I personally know two excellent editors. One is recently retired from a brand-name publisher and would have done a first-class job on your novels. The other, a member of SCBWI, is also a highly skilled editor.

Then there's the Editorial Freelancers Association, which I belonged to back when I was doing more editing than writing. To quote from the EFA website:
Member specialties include —

    * abstracts
    * copyediting
    * design
    * desktop publishing
    * editing
    * indexing
    * manuscript evaluation
    * picture research
    * project management
    * proofreading
    * research
    * textbook development
    * translation
    * writing 

I feel sure you could find a more-than-competent editor among EFA's members.

I'm not trying to be snippy. I am truly puzzled that you have had trouble finding a good editor. Maybe it's because I've earned much more, over the years, as an editor than as a writer. My first job out of college was as a copyeditor on a newspaper. Then I moved into manuscript evaluation, line editing, and developmental editing for an educational publisher. I may move in circles that are more editorial than writerly.

In any event, with all of the experienced editors who have lost their jobs because of the recession and the ongoing shrinkage in the traditional publishing business, there is plenty of talent out there.

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