Paula here...I'm delighted to have as today's guest, freelance editor Kristen Weber. I highly recommend Kristen to anyone who's ready for an insightful, hardworking, enthusiastic editor to help get your manuscript into shape.
Kristen Weber has worked as an in-house editor for her entire book publishing career (except for a brief stint as a subsidiary rights assistant) before relocating to Los Angeles for her husband’s job. She’s currently freelance editing in between relearning to drive and hanging out with her pug. You can learn more about her services here:
By Kristen Weber
“Do I have to take a test?”
That was my first question when I was approached for a job as an editorial assistant. My only real qualifications were that I had been an English major and I was a voracious reader. I didn’t know exactly what being an editorial assistant entailed, and I wasn’t sure I could pass any kind of test.
But as I quickly learned, you either know how to edit or you don’t. While some houses will give tests, becoming an editorial assistant is really an apprenticeship. You absolutely need to have the editorial “eye” - being able to crawl inside an author’s manuscript to find the heart of the problem while helping them maintain their own vision and voice. If you have that eye, you’ll learn to hone it by reading and discussing the submissions of a more experienced editor and editing behind them on manuscripts. It is an absolutely intense experience, filled with days and nights of an overwhelming edit and reading load but it is the best way to learn the business.
The thing about editing, though, is that there isn’t really a “right” way to do it. I know how I personally edit, but different editors edit in their own way. You can do it with a red pen or with a pencil, sitting in your office or sitting on your couch. And there isn’t really any way to know if you’re doing it “right” – except by the caliber of the books that you end up helping to get published.
The point that I’m making is that editing is a subjective art form. That’s why I always told the authors I worked with and I tell the freelance clients I work with now not to get discouraged. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure…and one day you’ll find the person who sees your work like you do.
One of my first acquisitions was a book that had literally been passed on all over town. But it only took a few short pages to steal my heart. I knew I could help the author make it into something amazing and I was right…it went on to win awards and receive phenomenal reviews.
In the end, the most important person to believe in your work is you. Of course, if you continue to get the same exact same kind of criticism on your manuscript from your writing group and even agents if you go that far, that’s where a freelance editor like me comes in. I consider it my job to help push your work out even further while helping you keep your own vision and voice intact. Sometimes you just need a little professional help to push your manuscript to that next level.