It is essential that we begin our working relationship with the right expectations of what can be achieved, and a clear understanding of what factors come in to play that can affect the final manuscript, during the editing process.
There are two main factors to take into consideration:
- Rules versus preferences – subjectivity
- The current state of the manuscript
If you pass your manuscript to ten different editors and ask them to edit it, you will receive ten very different versions back. Ask ten readers to read and review your book and you will receive ten different reviews.
Reader one doesn’t ‘believe’ in the Oxford comma, but your editor does so the reader comments on the grammatical errors.
Editor six believes that numbers above ten should be written in numerals whereas editor ten believes numbers up to one-hundred should be spelled out.
Reader five was taught that you should never start a sentence with a conjunction such as and. The editor follows the guidance of New Hart’s Rules, disagrees with this and allows it.
One person’s rules are another’s preferences and this needs to be taken in to account when making decisions and taking feedback. Prior to starting work on your project, we will discuss these issues and make the relevant decisions together, these will then be detailed in the style sheet which I will provide you with upon completion of your edit.
The current state of the manuscript
Although I aim for perfection, it is practically impossible in one round of edits and the publishing world agrees with that.
Manuscripts handled by the big five houses typically receive five rounds of edits and proofreads, sometimes more. And by different people, yet those pesky typos can still slip through. I know of international bestselling books which have sold in their millions with errors such as the use of sun instead of son. It happens.
It stands to reason then that it is impossible for one round of edits to pick up each and every problem. If that level of editorial sorcery existed, then there would be a fair few editors and proofreaders hitting the dole office!
I wish with all my heart that I could guarantee that the edits I make to your manuscript will have picked up each and every error. However, there is so much to deal with, especially at the developmental and line/copy stages, that it is unrealistic to expect perfection at this point.
Every copy-editor and proofreader in the land wishes they could tell you that, after one pass, they have made thousands of revisions, picked up several plot holes, and made over one-hundred word-change suggestions and, once you have accepted ALL of these suggestions and changes, and addressed the plot holes, your manuscript will be perfect with not a single comma missed out and you can press the publish button.
That’s just not the case.
The editor/proofreader may have missed something. You may have made changes and introduced some new issues.
So, what now?
Well … I fully appreciate that you may not have a bottomless pit of funds available to throw at several rounds of edits and proofreads but that is no excuse for not taking the time to save for at least one round – and preferably at the copy/line editing stage.
There are tons of self-editing guides available online and in bookshops. Finding one that you can work with and use well will help you reduce costs if you are able to do some of the basics yourself.
I am always happy to discuss payment plans with authors so please do get in touch if that is something you would like to explore.
My promise to you
Taking all the above in to consideration, here is my promise to you:
- I promise that should the round of edits you option me for be the only round, you will receive a manuscript back that is of a higher quality than it was when I received it.
- I promise that I will respect your work and keep your voice.
- I promise that I will not mislead you.
- I promise that I will do my absolute best for you.
- I promise that I will aim for as close to perfection as is possible.
If you feel that I might be the right fit for you and your project, please get in touch and we can have a chat about your needs.