How long have you been an editor?

In 2006, I took a part-time job as Publicity Assistant at Interlink Publishing Group. Within a couple of months, I took on a role as Assistant Editor. Over the course of my six years at Interlink, I saw 10+ books a season through the publishing process—from early manuscript to copy edits, layout, design, and proofreads, to galleys and eventually finished books. Alongside my editorial work, I wrote press releases and pitch letters, maintained an extensive network of contacts, and arranged author events.

While working at Interlink, I began freelance editing for a company that supported self-published authors on their journey to seeing their books in print. I also founded a literary magazine—Cactus Heart­­—which over the course of four years publishing sixteen e-Issues and six print issues. In 2014, when I finished my MFA in fiction from Pacific University, I began freelance editing in earnest. I’ve worked with a number of clients, both individuals and businesses, on a number of projects—from website copy to e-books to short stories to trade books.

Why is editing important?

In a world where anyone can publish anything with the click of a button, editing, and its often neglected couterpart, proofreading, can move your writing from merely good to excellent. A well written website, essay, or book stands out for its professionalism, and it lets the reader know that the writer has invested the time and energy necessary to really honor their subject matter and expertise. Rambling sentences, grammatical errors, typos will distract or turn off a reader, meaning your message won’t reach its desired audience.

What does an editor do?

There are two main types of editing: copy editing and developmental editing. Copy editing focuses on ensuring that copy is readable, intelligent, and conveying the message it intends to. Developmental editing pays attention to larger aspects of the work such as voice, style, structure, and flow. A good editor will pay attention to all of these pieces when considering your work, and respond to the manuscripts needs accordingly.

What’s the difference between developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading?

Developmental editing occurs during the very early stages of a book manuscript, perhaps before you’d even think of it as a manuscript. Developmental editing focuses on ideas (such as plot, characters, themes), structure (are your chapters in the right order? do your characters’ motivations and actions make sense?), and other large-scale issues (is your book getting the message you intend it to across?). Equally important for both fiction and nonfiction, a good developmetal editor won’t focus so much on line edits, but the bigger picture.

Copy editing (what most people think of when they thinking of “editing”) happens in the middle stages of a manuscript, but certainly pre-design and layout. Copy editing is an intensive process, in which the editor spends a significant amount of time working to get the manuscript to its very best state. This sometimes means structural, voice, or content changes, but with a much heavier focus on basic grammatical and other line-by-line edits.

Proofreading, though equally important, occurs at a much later stage in the game. Post-layout, a proofreader looks for simple layout and design issues, widows and orphans, sections breaks that look wonky, misspelled words, missing words, and other infelicities that can ruin a final copy.

What are your areas of expertise?

I consider myself a renaissance woman, and will gladly learn anything necessary for a job. To be more concrete, though, I’m thoroughly familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style, MLA formatting, and Merriam-Webster’s 11th Edition. As for subject matter, my knowledge runs the gamut, and I’m particularly fond of the following: early American history; British proto-feminist history; American feminism (all waves); food and recipes; cookbooks; travel guides; modern English literature; contemporary poetry and fiction; translated fiction; astrology and tarot; alternative and holistic health; LGBTQ history and literature; retail marketing; ceramics; handmade goods, especially jewelry.

I have a very short piece I need help with—do you take on small projects?

No project is too small (or too large, for that matter)! I’ve edited 100 words pieces and I’ve edited 100,000 word pieces.

What are your rates?

My rates are sliding scale, within standard range, and depend on the size and magnitude of the project.

How can I talk with you more about my project?

Send me an email sararauch.freelance[at]gmail.com and I’ll be in touch!

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