I love to see reviews of books I’ve worked on! Check out this write-up on Under the Floorboard by Wendy Ranby, published by Moncton’s own Chocolate River Publishing and distributed by Nimbus. It’s always a pleasure to work on books like this (who am I kidding—it’s always a pleasure no matter what I’m working on! I’m a true editing geek and a writing fan girl), and it’s wonderful to come across them “in the wild,” once they are published!
Whew! It’s been a busy few months here at The Eyrie Editing. I’ve been working on some fun projects in the areas of children’s and YA fiction and academic editing. One thing I love about being an editor is the wide variety of projects I get to work on. I love that I am always switching gears and learning new things!
This month, I got to attend The Word on the Street Halifax, where Follow the Goose Butt to Nova Scotia by Odette Barr, Colleen Landry, and Beth Weatherbee was launched. I had the pleasure of copy editing this third book in the “Goose Butt” series, which is published by Chocolate River Publishing, and I am so excited to see it fully realized. It will be available soon in select bookstores and online—stay tuned!
Another book I got to work on recently will be launched this weekend at Toronto’s The Word on the Street festival. Under the Floorboard by Wendy Ranby, also published by Chocolate River Publishing, is a YA novel that delves into some pretty important issues in today’s society.
For those who will be in the area, there will also be a launch for Under the Floorboard in Tottenham, Ontario, on Monday, September 24, from 6:30–8:30pm at the Tottenham Community Centre. And if you’re here in New Brunswick, it will be launched in Saint John at Fog Lit on September 29th. Check it out if you can—I’m hoping to make it to that one, myself! If you don’t get a chance to check out any of the launches, the book will be available soon in select bookstores and online.
It’s been an exciting month here at The Eyrie! In early June, I attended the first annual Metro Moncton Book Festival, where I got to meet so many interesting and talented writers from the area. Then last week, I took a little road trip to go to the book launch for a middle-grades mystery novel I did a copy edit on—it’s a fun book and I so enjoyed working on it! It was a great opportunity to work with a local author and a local publisher, Chocolate River Publishing.
And then today, this happened:
Yep, that’s me, in (very large) full colour! I had the opportunity this week to be interviewed for a column in the local newspaper that takes a look at different jobs and professions. It was totally out of my comfort zone, but it was great to talk about what I do and why I love to do it!
So, you’ve realized that you really should be hiring an editor for your project, whether it be a blog post, marketing materials, web content, or a manuscript. You even have an idea of what kind of editing you need. At this point you must be starting to wonder what, exactly, it will cost you to hire an editor (or a writer) for your work.
This is the point at which you make sure that the editor you hire has some substance behind them. It really is a case of “you get what you pay for,” and your work—big or small—deserves the best. Hiring a trained editor ensures that you are getting the most bang for your buck; there is so much more to professional editing than being good at spelling or grammar!
Look for an editor who has taken courses or training in the areas of editing they offer. Most editors will continue their professional development through extra courses, studying and reading, and participation in conferences and workshops.
A few other things to look for when hiring an editor are:
- Membership in a professional association such as Editors Canada or the Editorial Freelancers Association.
- A professional website (or at least a Facebook page), which can give you a clearer picture of who they are and what they can offer.
- Testimonials from previous clients.
The cost of editing and writing often depends on the needs of your particular project. To get an idea of what it might cost to have your work edited, your prospective editor will usually need some information about your project. You will likely be asked about the type of material you need edited, the type of editing you need, and the word count of your piece. Many editors will also ask for a sample of the work, especially if it’s a longer piece, in order for them to give you an accurate estimate of the final cost.
Some editors charge by the hour, some charge by the word, some by the page, and some will charge a flat rate which is determined per project. An editor with some experience or training will have a good idea how long it should take them to edit a piece, and there are also some handy guidelines out there that can give them (and you) a reasonable estimate of the time it may take. The time and work involved can vary wildly between projects, since editing is far from one-size-fits-all—every new project is a new adventure!
For a quick idea of what you might expect when looking at rates for editing and writing, check out the Editing Freelancers Association’s chart on editorial rates. While this chart is a good guideline, the rates offered by your editor or writer may differ, depending on a few factors, such as the amount of training or experience they have, or the geographical area in which they work.
Proofreading? Copy Editing? Stylistic Editing? What’s the difference, and which one do you need? There are many different types of editing, and they are easily confused. Here’s a basic breakdown of the types of editing I offer here at The Eyrie:
In a nutshell, proofreading is a last word-by-word run-through of otherwise fully prepared materials. The proofreader’s main goal is to pick up any last typos, misspellings, or grammar issues that were missed (or introduced—it happens!) during the editing process. A proofreader often compares the most current document against the previous version to ensure that all edits have been applied and no new errors have been introduced.
The proofreader comes in at the end of the editing process, and they only cover the mechanics of the writing: grammar, punctuation, spelling, and typos. They won’t make suggestions on content, word choice, or any other non-mechanical changes, unless something is glaringly wrong or somehow incomprehensible.
Most often, the proofreading phase will take place once the work is in its final form and has been formatted for publication (whether in print or digitally)—hence its name: it’s the last-chance reading of the “proofs” before it goes to print.
2. Copy Editing
Copy editing involves a thorough check of your materials for any mechanical errors, which could include typos, grammar mistakes, or misspellings. A copy editor also makes sure that style choices are applied consistently throughout the work, according to your style sheet or whichever style guide you prefer. If you don’t have a style sheet or preferred guide, your editor will be able to recommend a style guide, and they can help you develop a style sheet if necessary. In copy editing, the content itself (and how it well it reads) is not generally addressed, other than very occasional notes on obvious problems with clarity or consistency.
Copy editing is often what people think of when they think of editing in general. A copy editor takes the draft of your work (once the content is settled) and combs through it to ensure that the grammar, punctuation, spelling, and word usage are at their best. They will fix mechanical errors and typos, and make sure that the work is readable and makes sense.
3. Stylistic editing (or line editing)
Stylistic editing, also known as line editing, is about finding the best way to get your message across. The focus is on flow, clarity, tone, and consistency; the changes suggested by your editor will apply to the content and how it is presented rather than mechanics and corrections. When a stylistic edit is done on your work, the editor will make suggestions for how to better arrange your words and sentences, help you make better word choices, and ensure your writing flows well. The goal is to have writing that is as crisp, clear, tight, and clean as possible.
A stylistic editor keeps the reader or intended audience in mind, and makes sure that the reading level and word choices are the best ones possible for your intended audience.
Often a stylistic edit and a copy edit will happen at the same time, but when you have a stylistic edit done, it is assumed that most mechanical corrections will be done later in the copy editing and proofreading stages.
So there you have it, a quick overview of the main types of editing offered here at The Eyrie Editing and Writing. For more information on the different types of editing, check out Editors Canada’s handy definitions—or if you’re looking for more in-depth descriptions of each type, see their document on Professional Editorial Standards.
I’ve always been a bit different. I’m one of those who spends a lot of time in the world of my own mind. I am a thinker, an analyser, an imaginer. These are useful qualities in an editor and writer, but it can be jarring when connections I’ve made while ruminating in my inner world run up against reality and I am met with blank looks; it is then that I realize (yet again) that what seems obvious to me is not necessarily obvious to everyone else.
Hence, this post. When I launched The Eyrie Editing and Writing, I ran into a bit more confusion over the (ever so carefully chosen) name than I had expected. Me being me, I didn’t even stop to consider changing the name—smart business move or not, it was too late; I was already attached. So, rather than change it, I wrote this post explaining how I arrived here, through the workings of my imagination.
An eyrie, as defined by English Oxford Living Dictionaries, can be “a large nest of an eagle or other bird of prey, built high in a tree or on a cliff,” or “a high or inaccessible place from which someone can observe what is below them.”
We’ll start with the first definition: the nest of a bird of prey, situated high above. To me, an editor’s skills are analogous to those of an eagle on the hunt. An editor must be—ahem— “eagle-eyed” in their editorial endeavours, zeroing in on every typo, grammar error, and awkward sentence construction. Eagles soar high above the ground, using their keen eyesight and sharp reflexes to seek and home in on their prey. An editor’s job is to review (from above, if you will) the material they are working on, using their sharply honed skills and precision to strike down errors hiding in the forest of words.
In the world of writing, words, and grammar, the editor is the eagle on the hunt; their prey, weakness in the work that prevent the writing from being its best. And if an editor is the eagle, what else would we call their home base but their nest, or eyrie?
The second definition of an eyrie—a high or inaccessible place from which one can observe what is below (here you go, Game of Thrones fans)—describes the role of an editor in the writing process. An editor sits in a removed position from the material they are editing; they are the fresh eyes that see the writing from an outside perspective, without emotional attachment.
From their unique vantage point, an editor can review the material as a whole, and more easily pick out what is working and what isn’t. Observing the material from this standpoint gives them the ability to bring out the best in the writing; they’re not personally invested, which allows them to more easily identify changes that could take it to the next level.
We can go further here, as I am a writer as well as an editor, and bring in the writer’s practice. We are all familiar with the image of the solitary writer, working their craft in isolation, observing and evaluating the world from an outside perspective. It is easy to imagine the writer’s workspace—and headspace—as a metaphorical eyrie, a step removed from the rest of the world.
There are a few (actual, literal) eyries along the highways where I live, and during the summer months you can often catch sight of an eagle in its nest, gazing out over the forest, surveying its domain. These sights strike a feeling of awe and wonder in me—they ignite my imagination and send me off into reverie. Like I said, I’m a thinker and a dreamer; my imagination leads me to see connections where not everyone necessarily would.
For me, the connection between an eyrie and my editing and writing practice feels clear. While my actual workspace is merely a cozy nook where I am surrounded by books, words, coffee mugs, and the music that eases me through my day; in my minds-eye, it is my nesting spot from which I observe my domain of words and grammar, where I can dive from above into the work of striking out the weaker bits, choosing just the right words and phrases, and developing the best writing possible.
Fiction or non-fiction, blog posts or marketing materials—all types of professional writing benefit from an editor’s touch!
Fiction or non-fiction, blog posts or marketing materials—all types of professional writing can benefit from an editor’s touch!
It’s a common thought among those who write in their professional lives: “Why would I hire an editor? It looks pretty good to me. I can read it over myself to find any typos or errors.” It’s true, what you’ve written may be just about how you’ve envisioned it—but here’s another truth: an editing professional can bring it from pretty good all the way to outstanding!
Here are 7 good reasons you should hire an editor for your written work:
1. An editor brings fresh eyes to the revision of your materials.
When reviewing your own work, it can be hard for you to notice every error or typo. You know the work so intimately that you end up with what I like to call “writer’s eye”—you just don’t see errors that may jump out to someone else. The more you read it over, the more you lose the ability to notice these mistakes. Your editor brings a new set of eyes to the revision and typo-hunting stage of your writing.
Further to this, in the effort to make a particular point and find just the right words to get your message across, you may have missed a fresher or more concise way to say what you’re trying to say. When you write you can develop a sort of tunnel vision that doesn’t allow you to see other (maybe better) ways of expressing your message to your audience. A professional editor will come to your work with a different perspective, which can pull out stronger ways to get your message out there. (Funny side note: when writing this paragraph, I fell into exactly this—I got stuck on a less-than-clear way of trying to explain my point. It took a lot of re-reading and revising before I realized that there was a better word choice out there!)
Even editors themselves are best served using fresh eyes to go over their writing—missing our own mistakes is just part of the fallibility of our human minds.
2. An editor is trained to see issues where you may not.
Similar to the point above, but different enough to warrant its own number on this list, is the fact that a professional editor is trained and skilled at finding errors where they are hiding. Editors know the tricks they can use to catch easily missed typos or grammar issues. They have the experience to know what to look for, and they know to question everything.
Editors have the skills that allow them to do more than just catch and correct mistakes like the wrong “there, their, or they’re;” they’re trained to find and fix structure problems, grammar issues that are hiding in plain sight, and anything else that may weaken your message.
3. An editor will sit with a dictionary and necessary style guide (or multiple ones) at hand.
An editing professional is ready to check and double check whether everything is perfectly correct. While they do have the training and skills needed to suss out any issues, they also know that to rely only on their own experience and knowledge would be foolhardy. They will use multiple dictionaries and style guides, and any other resource available, to make absolutely certain that the word you used is the word you meant to use, and that style and grammar rules are applied consistently throughout.
It’s in the job description, and they enjoy doing it!
4. An editor will apply consistency, which lends credibility and professionalism.
Consistency is not the first thing you will be focused on when you are working on a written project. It’s not an easy thing to keep in mind while writing, since your main focus is (and should be) your story or message.
Should your document be written using Canadian English, American English, or British English conventions? Will it employ the oxford comma, or not? How should a particular title be abbreviated, and what will be capitalized and when? All of this is within the editor’s domain to figure out and apply.
An editor will use a style guide or your style sheets for the project, and they will follow them to the letter, which will give a smoother and more professional feel to your material.
5. An editor will find just the right words to make your message pop.
Sometimes when you’ve written a piece it’s hard see outside of your choices. Sometimes you’ve chosen the perfect word, but a different sentence construction will clarify your meaning. Sometimes the perfect word is out there for what you want to say, but it was not the first (or second, or third) word that came to mind when you were writing.
It can be hard to see what the other options are once you’ve chosen a direction. This is what your editor is there for—they will come in with a new perspective and a different set of skills, and they can come up with the perfect way to say what you’re trying to express.
6. An editor is trained to preserve your voice.
The above point brings up the potential for concern that involving an editor could change your piece into something that’s no longer “yours”. Not to worry—an editor is trained to preserve the voice and tone of your work, while fixing any problems and helping your message come through loud and clear!
7. An editor knows when to break the rules and when to hold fast.
Part of the job of a professional editor is to stay aware of writing, grammar, and word usage trends. The world of writing and grammar is always evolving; usage changes over time, and some of the rules that seemed set in stone when you were going to school may have been loosened up or thrown out altogether.
With knowledge of the most up-to-date evolution and trends in language use, your editor will be able to recognize the right time to mix it up and actually use that preposition to end a sentence (with). Allowing an editor to tweak your work will allow it to stand out as smooth and professional without letting outdated writing rules drag it down, sucking the life and personality from your written materials.
So, do you want your writing to be the best it can possibly be? Don’t risk losing your message to grammar errors, inconsistencies, typos, or outdated rules—hire a professional editor and let your words shine!