Proofreaders are widely used today in all walks of written work life – from the business world to the academic realm – to identify poor grammar, inconsistencies, unnecessary repetition, and errors of various kinds. However, editing services, despite not being as popular as proofreading services, are becoming increasingly well-known and in-demand.
An editing service typically addresses all of the issues that a proofreader focuses on, but editors usually focus more comprehensively on issues like style, flow, and structure. If you are thinking about hiring an editor, there are a few important pieces of information to keep in mind. Especially if you have never used an proofreading service before, taking a little bit of time to cover the fundamentals and make sure you get what you’re looking for is worthwhile.
What kind of editor should you hire?
At the outset, it’s important to recognise that there are various levels of editing: copy editing, developmental editing, and stylistic editing.
Copy editing is similar to proofreading in that it focuses on errors and inconsistencies, but copy editors also tend to focus on factual accuracy, too.
Developmental editors will help you to shape your writing, and thus they typically command the highest rate, whereas stylistic editing is usually focused on the tone, style, and overall flow of your written work.
Communicate with your editor
To prevent misunderstandings or frustration, it is essential to give your editor as much information as possible.
For example, if you are sensitive to changes and, as a result, only want parts of your document changing that are awkward, verbose, or incorrect, make sure you let your editor know.
This will prevent them from making subjective changes to your work that, despite being worthwhile in their opinion, are not what you yourself had in mind.
Find someone objective
It is crucial to avoid working with an editor who may become emotionally entangled with the written work you are producing. As a case in point, if you are writing a memoir about your family, it is probably a good idea not to ask one of your parents, or close family to edit your work.
Objectivity may also come in the form of subject-specific knowledge. When you order a proofreading service, subject matter expertise is usually not important on the part of the proofreader. However, this expertise can be valuable in an editor when checking written work.
Listen to your editor
Apart from correcting errors in your document, restructuring it, and improving its overall style (e.g., in the case of stylistic editing or developmental editing), working with an editor can serve as a preview of how a reader will react to what you have written. For this reason, depending on the nature of the feedback they give to your document as a whole, it is worth thinking about how you can address it.
Always ask for a sample
Many editors offer free samples of their work, which typically range from 150 to 500 words. If a free sample is on offer, ensure that you take advantage of this in order to determine whether the editor is a good fit for your type of work.
If you need an editor for a longer piece of writing, such as a book that contains 100,000 words, consider purchasing an extended sample from several editors (e.g., 1,000 to 2,000 words). After reviewing each one’s work, you can decide which is the best suits your needs.