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, each season I saw 10+ books 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 occasionally freelance editing for a company that supported self-published authors on the 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 while I shopped my first book. These days, I’ve added being a mom into the mix, but editing remains my career passion. 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 counterpart, 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, and typos can 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 goes line-by-line, with a focus on ensuring the copy is readable and intelligent, while also conveying the message it intends to. Developmental editing pays attention to larger aspects of the work such as voice, style, structure, and pacing. A good editor can help you figure out what type of edit you need by reading a sample of your work.
What’s the difference between developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading?
Developmental editing (often) occurs during the 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 across the message you intend it?). Equally important for fiction and nonfiction manuscripts, a good developmental editor will help you see the big picture of your project.
Copy editing (what most people think of when they think 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 its main focus is on grammatical, stylistic, 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?
My true loves are literary fiction and creative nonfiction, though I have a background in poetry and history. As for subject matter, I’m knowledgeable in the following: early American history; British proto-feminist history; American feminism (all waves); cookbooks; travel guides; English and American literature; contemporary poetry and fiction; translated fiction; astrology and tarot; alternative and holistic health; LGBTQ history and literature. That said, I’ve edited many manuscripts outside of my areas of expertise, and am always happy to do so. I’m thoroughly familiar with the Chicago Manual of Style, MLA formatting, and Merriam-Webster’s 11th Edition.
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 within standard range. For small projects (<50,000 words) I charge by the word, and for large projects (>50,000 words) I quote a fixed rate based on the manuscript’s needs.
How can I talk more with you about my project?