What is an Editor?

by sitemanager

If you think about it, an editor is a “mediator”. Someone who sits between the writer and the reader and helps them to understand each other.  An editor provides the author with the perspective of the reader and helps the author to hone and polish their manuscript in such a way that the reader can easily understand the author’s perspective.

What Does An Editor Do?

An independent editor is actually an independent contractor paid by the author or publisher. The kind of editing that is done, how extensive it is will differ with each manuscript.

The final cost for editing is closely tied to the length of the manuscript, i.e., number of words.

Typically an editor will read through the manuscript once to get a good overview of the content, to understand the author’s writing style and to listen for the author’s voice. Maintaining the author’s true voice throughout the editing process is imperative.

Once an editor has her understanding of these things she will begin to work through line-by-line for grammar and punctuation. She may make word changes to make the writing more concise, using fewer or better words to convey the same meaning. She may break down large paragraphs into smaller ones for better flow and comprehension.

After the first round of editing the editor will likely let the manuscript “rest” for a day or two and then pick it up to give it a final read through for context, flow and clarity.

The editing process is the most extensive part of the book publishing process. It can take up to three rounds between editor and author to finalize the manuscript.

While there are varying degrees of writing no author should ever skip the editing process. It is vital to get an editor’s perspective on the manuscript and not to take the editors comments to heart necessarily but use the feedback to create a better overall book in the end.

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2 Responses to What is an Editor?

  • Dr Mike says:

    I love your website, a valuable resource for my work.

    I believe my work as an editor is to work myself out of a job by instructing the writers as we go along so they will be less likely to repeat their errors. It also is good for me as a published writer and college composition professor to help students know what to avoid in their writing — rather what to do instead.

  • Dr Mike says:

    Touchy topic.

    What is your viewpoint on using a plural possessive pronoun (their) with a singular noun (the author)? It used to be a no-no, but has that changed?

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