Friday, March 11, 2016

Questions from Readers

Kat asks, “How do you find an editor when the first draft is completed, or maybe after the second?”

I like the question because Kat realizes the need to be edited.

All serious writers need editing.

I’ve written a lot of books and articles in my career and I still need editing before I send it to a publisher. Those talented individuals can look objectively at your writing and point out your flaws in thinking, ambiguities, improper grammar, lack of transition, et al.

As an author, your function is to make your writing the best you can to meet (and exceed) professional standards. When I get to the place, whether second draft or tenth, and I confess, “This is the best I can do at this stage of my development,” then I send it to an editor.

When you feel you’re ready, here are my suggestions.

1. Don’t pick an English teacher, unless that person has worked in publishing.

2. Expect to pay editors for their services. Their rates vary, so I won’t quote any prices.

3. Ask published writers the name of their editors. (You may ask me because I know many qualified editors.)

4. Susan Osborn and Kathy Ide offer professional editing services.

3. Go online and look up editing services. (Be careful. Anyone can claim to be an editor.)


  1. I'm curious as to why you say "don't pick an English teacher unless that person has worked in publishing." I'm an English professor and have edited (for free) several manuscripts and articles. Almost each author has contacted me afterward and told me how grateful they were, because publishers they submitted to specifically noted how well edited the text was.

  2. Patti, I wrote, "unless that person has worked in publishing." You obviously have. My reason was that too many English teachers treat manuscripts as if they are students and become rigid with the rules. They get rid of contractions. Insist on never using sentence fragments (As I just did). Also they're not up to current usage. For example, we no longer refer to writers' conference (with an apostrophe) because the conferences don't own the conferences. We don’t type the pause today the way we did five years ago. Instead of … we now use . . . .
    It's certainly not to insult English teachers, which is the reason I wrote unless.


What are your thoughts?