developmental editor, editing, Uncategorized

Do I need an editor for my manuscript?

do i need an editor for my manuscript_

I’m noticing an interesting trend that is growing with the swell of technology: authors are increasingly bypassing traditional publishers and self-publishing their works via sites like Amazon. It is fast, cheap, and – perhaps most alluring of all – does not require the approval of a third-party like an editor or publisher. You submit your novel to a print-to-order site, and voila! You have your very own book, which you can advertise via the web, social media, and word-of-mouth.

Self-publishing options are, in my opinion, a wonderful thing. Rather than having our literature wholly curated by a select group of people (publishers and their cohort), we are allowed access to a great range of works by all kinds of people. And for the authors themselves, it can be tremendously liberating to bypass the sometimes terrifying and disheartening process of submitting a manuscript for publication, at the rather great risk that it will be turned down. But does that mean authors shouldn’t engage a professional editor before sending their novel out into the world?

The simple truth is that, no matter how many times we might draft and redraft, read and reread, it is nearly impossible to gain enough perspective over our stories to know if they are, in fact, well-written. For a start, an author may have limited experience or education in the craft of writing, and so their work will come across as having an amateur feel. Even for experienced authors, however, the material becomes so familiar, and the story seems so natural and perfect in your mind, that you lose all objectivity. That’s to say nothing of the sentimental attachment you might grow toward certain characters, scenes or passages, which can keep you from making the best choices for your story.

Unfortunately, by avoiding the possible rejection or embarrassment of allowing a professional to pick over your work and make suggestions (which can, admittedly, be a fairly brutal and emotional process), you’re likely to leave your readers making those judgements instead. They might smile politely and say, “That was lovely, well done!” Or they might try to let you down gently. Either way, they’ll have read the story and thought, “That could have been done better.” If you are genuinely passionate about writing for other people to read, then probably you would rather your readers think, “What a fantastic story!”

Editors can do more than just fix up spelling and grammar mistakes. As a developmental editor, I work with my clients to understand their story – who the characters are, what themes are present, what the underlying message of the story is. I’ll then start by assessing the overall structure of the manuscript: does the story flow well? are the characters consistent? does it make sense to have each scene placed where it is, or would it be better to move some things around? are there confusing gaps or inconsistencies?

After making these ‘big-picture’ suggestions and helping the author to implement such changes as they agree are necessary, I’ll assess aspects such as tone (does the narratorial voice stay consistent throughout the piece, or does the tone chop and change?), language (is it appropriate to the story, the characters, the readers?), and fine tune things like pace and flow, to ensure that the finished product is captivating, engaging, and stays true to the themes and message it contains. Finally, I go through with a fine-toothed comb and copyedit all of the more basic grammar and spelling errors.

Working with an editor before self-publishing is an investment into your novel, your readers, and yourself – because the process of discussing and reviewing the story will inevitably help you grow as a writer, pushing you further along in your writing career. It is well worth the time, money and courage it takes to engage a professional editor.

 

business, social media

#Hashtags – a commentary

Hashtag image
Image borrowed from https://businessfirstfamily.com/

Hashtags may seem a peculiar thing to write about as an editor – they don’t generally feature in more formal texts, nor are they common on websites. However, they make an interesting case subject: this tiny symbol carries a whole world of meaning in its four intersecting strokes.

Twitter and Instagram made hashtags popular by making them a clickable feature: click on a word or phrase with a hashtag in front of it, and you will see a list of every instance in which others have used the same combination. This concept eventually spread to other platforms, like Facebook. It is a convenient way to group ideas and information; but is there more to it than that?

Language and symbol use is inherently social – it is the means by which one person can communicate their inner thoughts and feelings with another. The humble hashtag plays an important role in connecting people, thoughts and ideas – in essence, it is a shortcut to meaning. It is an indicator that automatically links to popular conceptions or common experiences. For example, #winning #gettingswoll #oneofthosedays.

While it’s unlikely that hashtags will ever find their place in formal writing, they have become a powerful and important tool in settings such as social media. Businesses who want to connect with the culture and potential customers can use hash tags to build a sense of familiarity and relevance.

 

business, copywriting, editing

Small Business Owners: Do You Copy?

What is copy, and what do copywriters do?

Copy is all of the written material produced by your business, for your customers. Whether it’s a social media post or a billboard advertisement, copy has the potential to influence customers – for better or worse.

A copywriter is someone who comes up with the written material you use to market your business and connect with your customers. Professional copywriters know how to appeal to your target audience and boost your business. Any business – big or small – can benefit from enlisting the services of a good copywriter.

Should I worry about copywriting for my small business?

Absolutely! If you run a small, local business, you know that standing out from the crowd is essential to bringing in new customers. Often, your written material is the first impression customers get of your business, be it a Facebook post, your website or a printed advertisement. They may only spend a few seconds reading; this means your words need to compelling and perfectly crafted.

Edited by Wilde consults with clients to best understand their needs, and the image they are looking to create for their business or service. We can work with your copywriter to edit and proofread your work before it goes live.

business, editing

Good Grammar Makes Business Sense

If your customers are primarily sourced via online or print marketing, then the calibre of your written communication is crucial in making a great first impression. Ensuring that your writing is error-free helps foster the perception that you – and, by extension, your business – are professional, sharp, and on top of your game. Customers are more likely to trust your business as a result.

This applies equally to other business communications, such as emails, social media posts, reports and proposals. You may do well in your job, but if your writing is sloppy and full of errors, it will give people the idea that you lack finesse and attention to detail; it may even detract from their confidence in your ability to undertake your work to a professional standard.

Rather than rush through writing, take the time to proofread your work, paying close attention to the basics, such as spelling and punctuation. If in doubt, do a quick internet search to double-check – it’s easy to get confused about ‘which witch is which’, but it’s even easier to find the answer online. Simple measures like this can send the quality of your written communication rocketing skyward. The best part? It gets easier with practice! Soon enough, you’ll find it second nature to decide between a comma or semi-colon; common stumbling blocks like ‘there, their, they’re’ won’t faze you for a second.

Getting stuck on tricky words? Can’t tell an apostrophe from a parenthesis? Edited by Wilde can help you out with proofreading, and ensure that your words get the polish they need to really make an impression!