What makes a good Editor?
I currently work with youth with special needs. My role is to teach these students literacy in their homes in the hope to re-engage them into school life and learning. When I sit with them I tick lots and as yet have never used a cross.
I tick if they put a space between words, full stop at the end of their sentence and if they write a correct letter or sound in a word. My aim is to give confidence to these children, show them they are capable of writing and improving and help them persist in having-a-go at learning to write.
I knew when I selected my Editor I wanted them to be the opposite of my current teacher’s role. I needed brutal honesty…although a few ticks would always be nice.
My first question to myself was, am I looking for a Manuscript Assessment or an Editing Service. This description from Writer’s Victoria is perfect.
A Manuscript Assessment …looks at the overall structure, content and style of your manuscript.
This may include things like plot, character, point-of-view, pace, writing style, narrative, dialogue, presentation, length, use of research, readership, marketing or publishing possibilities.
Manuscript Assessments differ from copy editing or proof-reading. These tend to look in detail at the accuracy of things like spelling, grammar and punctuation while a Manuscript Assessment will give you professional advice on the big picture.
A manuscript assessment may tell you that your work needs some editing or proof-reading, but it won’t provide this service for you. (https://writersvictoria.org.au/support/manuscript-assessments)
Once I had decided that I needed both a Manuscript Assessor and an Editor I began my research and have been extremely happy with all three services I have used; Writers Victoria, Lilly Pilly Publishing and Affordable Manuscripts Assessment.
All three services I used displayed the following characteristics:
- Compatibility Research Editors or Manuscript Assessors who are experienced in my field of writing. My first experience was with Sally Odgers from Affordable Manuscript Assessment, I was writing levelled readers and her list of publishers and books in this field was extensive, therefore her knowledge she shared was invaluable.
- Thought-provoking I wanted to take my writing from hobby to professional. I didn’t want someone who just agreed with everything I wrote. I needed someone who would question why I wrote a particular section, or use a certain phrase. I met Katie Evans from Writers Victoria in person and not only discussed my non-fiction manuscript but through out the meeting Katie gave me direction, inspiration, understanding and confidence. She asked questions which really made me think and confirm the reasons why I want to write. I am lucky enough each time I have my manuscripts either assessed or edited I have learnt in the process, which ensures my writing continues to grow.
- Reliable There always seems to be time frames, whether it is personal or industry related. Therefore it is good to know before hand expected assessment/editing times and to be kept informed if there will be delays.
- Respect My last experience with a Manuscipt Assessor and Editor was Julieann Wallace from Lilly Pilly Publishing. I chose her not only for her compatibility with my genre, but also for the respect I have. Julieann Wallace is talented, generous, professional and experienced. She is passionate about her job and goes above and beyond the set role of an editor or manuscript assessor. To be able to listen to the advice given you need to respect the person it comes from.
Good luck to all readers who have written their manuscript and are on to choosing a Manuscript Assessor and/or Editor.
I would love to hear your experiences, both positive and negative. Please don’t name people if you have had a negative experience with them – send them the feedback personally first.