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A good editor makes herself invisible. If she does her job well, no one (except other editors, perhaps) will notice. Often, a reader will finish a piece of prose and praise the writing, but sometimes all it means is that a poor to middlin’ writer had an awesome editor.
Or maybe the “writing” doesn’t draw attention at all. Maybe the reader just flat-out enjoyed the piece, even if he couldn’t explain why.
That’s good editing.
Editors are quirky people. We notice weird things that normal people wouldn’t blink at. We nitpick. We whine about the demise of proper grammar and spelling. We hang the fate of civilization on whether someone uses a hyphen, an en dash or an em dash. (And we know the difference.) We have knock-down-drag-outs about punctuation.
The Oxford comma? Don’t get me started.
We cringe at bad headlines, make fun of people who don’t know the difference between plural and possessive (nevermind plural possessive) and debate about the use and placement of “that.”
In short, we’re neurotic, compulsive Felix Ungers. (We need everything to be “just so.”)
You want that.
You want Felix Unger to edit your copy. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.
We are perfectionists, but in a good way. A good editor is not heavy-handed; she has a light touch on the copy and knows when to let the writer’s voice shine through. (If the writing is mostly good to start with, that is. And if the copy is so-so, you may need some help to make it shine.)
A good editor doesn’t go in and just change everything to her liking. She has a good reason for every change, and she helps the writer to 1) understand the elements of good content and 2) make his or her own major revisions when they’re needed.
She also tweaks and polishes so that you’ll look like the rock star you are.
Why hire an editor?
So you’ll look like a rock star. 🙂 But seriously, it’s because you want the words on your site, in your book, in your sponsored blog post – or whatever copy you put out there – to be seamless. You want the reader to notice YOU, not typos, bad grammar or crazy punctuation that changes the meaning of a sentence.
Why hire me?
Whether you’re writing a book, publishing a magazine article or trying to attract customers to your website, you want an experienced editor with an eagle eye who will approach your copy with a magnifying glass – and the care with which YOU would treat it if you had the time and training.
I sometimes joke that I came out of the womb reading a book – and that I was “born a copy editor.”
That’s not far from the truth!
I didn’t realize this until I was getting my journalism degree, thinking I would be a newspaper reporter, when a summer internship changed all that. I applied for the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Copy Editing Internship and, to my delight, was accepted.
That’s when my journey as an editor began.
The next summer, I interned at another newspaper, doing even more editing. By then, there was no going back. My first job out of college was on the copy desk of a newspaper, and I added layer upon layer of editing to my resume, even doing freelance editing on the side while doing newspaper work full time.
Yup. I love editing.
My specialty is Associated Press style (I was called “the style nazi” at one of my newspaper jobs. Translation: Suzy, you’re a rock star!), and I’ve edited everything from newspapers to magazines to books to medical journals. I edited hundreds of entries of an online encyclopedia before it went live in 2006.
I’ve had life experience (required for context and “big picture” stuff), and, of course, I’ve had editing experience (required for fine-tuning your writing down to the last detail).
My boss at USA Today (International Edition) told me I was the best copy editor he had ever worked with.
You want that.
If you’re looking for a good, versatile editor, click here to contact me and we’ll talk specifics. My rate sheet is available upon request.