You need a good editor.
Everyone does. Whether you’re publishing the white paper that’s going to make your career, submitting the proposal that could land you your biggest client yet, or simply designing flyers to advertise your Mother’s Day sale, you need someone checking for typos, readability, and any other mistakes. And when it’s for your business—the one you’ve put all your blood, sweat, money, and tears into—not just any friend, relative, or random person you find on Fiverr should do. You need a good, professional editor.
Don’t get me wrong, that uncle you called to help may be a retired expert from the Poynter Institute. There are good editors in the mix on sites like Fiverr. And you can even do a Google search for editors and blindly select a gem. But you may also pick someone who doesn’t have the experience and skills to catch something like the misuse of insure or the misplaced punctuation outside the quotation marks (one of my pet peeves, by the way). Why risk it?
How can you tell, however, when you’re getting a decent editor versus someone who’s only self-proclaimed as having a “good eye” and attention for detail? Here are a few tips to consider in your selection.
There’s often no good deal with cheap
The starting rate for a good copy editor typically is $35 per hour and increases usually depending on the editor’s experience, education, location, and popularity and on the complexity of the project. If he or she were charging any less, I’d question the quality of the work you’re getting.
There’s more to it than on-the-job training
Editors aren’t made by their passion for reading and writing alone. They do not solely earn their merit through years of reviewing other people’s work and catching a few misspellings. There are style guides, formatting, and writing structures editors must know. Real editors have some type of formal training. When looking for an editor, be sure to check. He or she should have training in subjects such as grammar, writing, spelling, reporting, SEO, and other fields.
You and your editor need to “click”
You wouldn’t trust your child or pet with just anyone, especially someone you don’t necessarily like. Your writing and projects should be no different. If you aren’t getting good vibes or just don’t feel right working with an editor during your early communications, choose someone else to work with. Not every editor is right for every project or writer. When choosing an editor, you’re picking a partner who will make your writing the best it can be. Choose wisely.
You want someone who’s creative
As you work with your editor, he or she should be able to integrate creativity with professionalism. You want them to be able to artistically slice and restructure your content until it is molded into a masterpiece. You want them to be able to make connections between your work and another relevant issue or current event. For example, if you’ve written an article about online security and social media and don’t mention the recent news about Facebook, your editor should flag it and make suggestions for where to add the news to your article.
Your editor shouldn’t make your work his or her own
A good, experienced editor possesses the ability to edit content while staying in the writer’s style and voice. The work he or she does enhances; it doesn’t rewrite. Sentence structure and word choice changes are not too simple or too complex for your text. The vocabulary continues to fit yours and the context of your writing.
You’ve put so much into your work. Put just as much into those finishing touches. Don’t blindly go into the editing process. Follow these tips and partner with an editor who’s going to make your content the best it can possibly be. Aren’t you and your work worth it?