Editors… What the Hell Good are They?

By John Rakestraw

First of all, editors should never be mean… now, they may want you to grow as a writer and at times that can take you out of your comfort zone. Editors only want the best for you, though they do expect you to work for it. Their goal is to open your creativity and deepen your story voice. A great editor will never make you change your voice or style. They should help you enhance all of the elements and mechanics of your writing. This is why a great editor is worth their weight in gold.

Editors come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, there are proofreaders, line editors, copy editors and content editors.

Proofreaders—Proofreaders make sure your copy is as error-free as possible. They look at pagination, spelling, formatting, and consistency. They may correct and clarify ambiguous grammar. They check headings, chapter titles, and table of contents. Appendices and indexes will be proofed as necessary.

Line Editors—The line editor makes sure you are putting your best foot forward. As the name suggests, a line editor works line by line, focusing and polishing to improve the author’s style and impact. They focus on tone and flow. The author’s message is kept in mind as improvements in choice of words, tone and transitions are made to increase the impact of the writing.

Copy Editors—The copy editor does similar work to the line editor, but they don’t focus on the intended impact. They focus on clarity and conciseness. They make sure the writing is appropriate for the intended audience and that the manuscript follows the style guide. Copy editors can also provide fact checking in some instances.

Content Editors—The content editor looks at the big picture. Does the book have structure? Are there holes in the story? Are the characters well developed? They’ll catch problems with inconsistencies in story line and characterization, style issues, and theme. They’ll check your dialogue for believability and your story for readability. This is indepth work; be prepared to pay for a good one.

What you truly want in an editor is someone who can wear all the different hats, someone who can handle all four of the task stated above. They are hard to find.

Editors seem to be a dime a dozen on the internet. Every writer believes themselves to be an editor. This is sadly untrue. Writers are gifted at writing; at stringing words together and painting beautiful word pictures.
We really need a professional editor who can help us be the best writer that we can be.

At Rakestraw Book Design, we are truly blessed to have the expertise of the Unbridled Editor herself, Toni Raketraw. She has spent years honing her craft as a writer and professional editor. She has worked with many writers and publishers over the last few years. She has read, study and perfected her understanding of the four core elements of the writer’s craft… writing, editing, cover art, and publishing. I bring to the table the marketing arm of our services. Getting your book from an idea in your head onto someone’s bookshelf is a long process. Let us help you make this happen.

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2 Responses to Editors… What the Hell Good are They?

  1. Michael A. Lewis says:

    Some writers are gifted writers and editors, too. It depends on what you want as a writer: do you want to be in charge of your work, or do you want one other individual to “make” you into a “better” writer, in their eyes.

    Do you want to write what’s in your heart and soul, or do you want to sell books?

    • Toni Rakestraw says:

      Reply by John Rakestraw:

      Thank you for your insightful thoughts, Michael,

      I would hope that writers work from their heart and soul and want to sell their books. Good editors don’t get in the way of writers, they work with the them. it not someone making you better in their eyes. It’s someone working with the author to get the best writing, the best book and hopeful the best sales. A professional editor is there for the author benefit. There are many gifted writers out there and I have had the honor to interview many of them… hands down they stated that they need the eyes of a great editor. No one is an island unto themselves, we all need that other set of eyes to help and benefit us.

      My internet Talk Radio Show, THE PLATFORM, http://thebookplatform.com/.

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