What can a professional editor do for you?

Let’s say that you’ve written something, whether a technical manual, non-fiction book, status report, journal article, novel, advertorial or blog post. What should you do next?

  • You could read the text over and edit it yourself.
  • You could ask a colleague, close friend or family member to “proofread” the text, or you could use an online editing program to find any typos.
  • You could give the text to someone with the expertise, experience and objectivity to manage this next step.

Picking option three means choosing a professional editor. That person can skilfully advise and support you in creating a piece of writing that—in addition to being scrubbed of spelling errors—will be clear, interesting, credible and right for your target readers.

Why hire a professional editor?

Professional editors can see both the big picture and the fine details.

Editors Canada’s Professional Editorial Standards outline the breadth and depth of editorial skill sets.

  • Structural editing – Assess and shape material to improve organization and content.
  • Stylistic editing – Edit to clarify meaning, ensure coherence and flow, and refine the language.
  • Copy editing – Edit to ensure correctness, accuracy, consistency and completeness.
  • Proofreading – Examine material after layout or in final format to correct errors in textual and visual elements.

Check out Editors Canada’s Definitions of Editorial Skills for more information on the types of editing.

Some editors do all types of editing, while others focus on one or two different types. Many also bring additional skills to their editing, like document design, writing, fact-checking, permission-checking and more.

On top of that, some editors work regularly in particular subject areas, like architecture, education, math and statistics, health care or law. Others focus on particular genres, like advertising, cookbooks, websites, government materials, textbooks, fiction, screenplays or eBooks.

Look for a professional editor who has the skills and experience that will benefit your particular project.

Professional editors help you create the best possible product.

Think of an editor as someone who is a facilitator between you and your readers. If you are just starting a project, an editor can help you develop your ideas and guide you in the writing process. If you have finished a project, an editor can make sure that everything is consistent from beginning to end and that your work is free of grammatical, spelling and stylistic errors. No matter what level of editing you need, professional editors:

  • See things you might have missed
  • Ensure your message is clear and effective
  • Make sure you have chosen the best words to communicate your message

Professional editors are objective, impartial and have your best interests at heart.

Writing is often a solitary process. Before your material goes out into the world, a professional editor can identify any problems that may cause you embarrassment or cause difficulty for your readers. Editors provide an impartial perspective. They will be honest and objective, and they will challenge you to make your work the best it can be.

Professional editors work hard to help your writing be memorable for all the right reasons and none of the wrong ones.

How do I find a professional editor?

  • Ask for referrals from author forums and networks.
  • Review the credentials of a prospective editor, including the types of editing they have done and the types of material they have worked on.
  • Search Editors Canada’s Online Directory of Editors to find the right editor for you and your project.

You have everything to gain by working with a professional editor.

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