Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Finding an Editor in Today's Market

Sandy Tritt
When Inspiration for Writers, Inc. went online in 1998, there were only three other companies on the Internet. Now, there are literally thousands of editors there. Thousands. Anyone can claim to be an editor. There are no tests, no licenses, no applications. And, unfortunately, nothing will destroy your writing career faster than a bad editor. It’s so disheartening to see so many unqualified editors taking money from unsuspecting writers—and then making an absolute mess of that writer’s work, often not only ruining the manuscript, but also the writer’s confidence. 
Some editing firms have only one editor—which could leave you in a rough spot if that editor were to suddenly take ill or have an accident. Or, even worse, simply decided that editing was hard work and took off with your money. Some editing firms have zillions of editors who bid on projects, with your manuscript going to the one with the lowest bid—regardless of his or her qualifications as an editor or in your genre. Some editing firms feature a list of hundreds of editors available for clients to select from, with preference given to the "fastest" editors—those who edit the most words per day with no weight for quality. One company promises that any manuscript under 65,000 words would be delivered in five days. That’s 13,000 words a day. (Our full-time editors average 5000 words in an 8-hour work day). 
As far as I can figure, IFW is now the oldest continuously-in-business editing company on the Internet today. We have grown from a one-person editor to a company with twelve editors, a web guy, a grammar guru, and an intern. 
So, why have we survived when so many others have come and gone? 
  1.  Our editors are professionals. Most have a minimum of a master’s degree in English, are well-published, have won many awards, and are active in the writing community. Editing is not something we do on the side after working all day at a day job. Editing IS our day job. 
  2. We have integrity. We are honest in all our dealings. We let you know up front what a job will cost, and we do not have any hidden costs that pop up later. 
  3. We provide excellent value for the work we perform. While many editing companies appear to be less expensive, when you add in the “hidden” costs (fees for more than a pre-determined number of corrections, hourly fees for responding to questions, fees for quick turn-around, fees for telephone consultations, etc.) and the high quality of our service, others cannot compare. 
  4. We treat our clients the way we would want to be treated. We treat our clients with respect and with kindness. We are honest with them, even when what we have to say is bad news. When we edit, we evaluate the manuscript, not the client. 
  5. We provide ongoing service long after we’ve edited your manuscript. We’re here—and will continue to be here for you—for as long as you need us. We can advise you on your writing questions and be your sounding board. It’s what we do. 
At Inspiration for Writers, Inc., we believe writers deserve the best editor for their individual needs. Therefore, our editors never bid or otherwise compete against one another for projects. Instead, each manuscript is evaluated, and the editor who is best suited for the particular genre and writing level is given the job. All our editors are published authors with extensive editing experience and excellent grammatical skills. Each editor has gone through a rigorous training program that includes an apprenticeship before being certified by Inspiration for Writers, Inc. Additionally, Inspiration for Writers, Inc., employs only editors with high ethics and excellent people skills.
Before hiring an editor, do your homework. Google both the company and the individual editor. What do other people (not their own website) say about them? Are the editors published by traditional publishers (not self-published)? Are the editors active in the writing community? Do they give workshops? Speak at writing conventions? Teach at the university level?
To make sure we have the best match between writer and editor, Inspiration for Writers, Inc., provides a free sample edit for manuscripts over 20,000 words. We want our writers to be comfortable with the personality, style and expertise of our editors. For truly, the writer/editor relationship is a close one, and the writer must feel comfortable asking questions and receiving feedback. If your editor isn’t your trusted friend—the person who is there to guide you and protect you while never leading you astray—you need a new editor.

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