Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Best of Being an Editor

Surrounded by all the best of/ worst of lists monopolizing magazines and news programs, I couldn’t resist compiling a short list of the best and worst things about being an editor. I’ve already posted the “worst of,” in the previous post, so now let’s move to the good stuff. Here are the five “best” things about being editor, with input from fellow Blood-Red Pencil members, including Dani Greer.
  1. Being one of the first people to read a book draft
  2. When a writer says “Thank you!” and you know you helped make his or her work even better
  3. Seeing your name in the book credits isn't bad either
  4. Amazing friends and family with the ability to spell words without Spell Check
  5. Fact-checking – it always feels good when you catch a mistake before the book goes into print
What about you? Share why you wouldn’t trade being an editor for any other profession in the comments.


A born storyteller with a gift for engaging audiences, Jesaka Long has helped authors (and companies) craft their stories for more than 12 years. A full-time freelancer and owner of a.k.a writer in Denver, she works her word magic for small publishing houses and authors, especially non-fiction writers and memoirists. For more information about her background and writing, editing and proofreading services, visit www.jesakalong.com.

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  1. I love it when I work with an author who is basically a good writer, just making a few errors consistently that lessens the power and impact of the prose. Like maybe using too many adjectives or adverbs instead of more direct writing with strong nouns and verbs. When I send back the edits and the author "gets it" and sends me back a ms that is much improved along with a note of "thanks that helped a lot" it just makes me glow.

  2. Enjoyed both of your posts on the best and the worst. One of my "worst" issues is when an author argues that his or her poor craft is a matter of style. "It's the way I write." Well, then, perhaps one should reconsider.

    One of the best moments is when an author contacts me to say the book has been published.

  3. Yes, when the author says their house editor loved the changes. Better yet, when they have little criticism of their own, or the only feedback is "it's good", that is a nice pat-on-the-back. Sigh of relief all around.

    It's definitely true; authors do consistently make the same errors.;) I'm spending a lot of time moving adverbs around in the current manuscript.

    Sometimes writing as

  4. Your comments are something to save a revisit when I'm having a rough editing day!

    @Marvin: you've just described the "best" of being an editor perfectly with "it just makes me glow." Couldn't agree more!

    @Maryann: You caught a great one that should have been in the top 5! I'm glad you enjoyed these posts and shared your experiences.

    @Dani: Maybe we need a post on adverbs! When I'm being the writer side of myself, I think this is sometimes one of my weak spots. :)

  5. For me, one of the best parts of being an editor is going through the manuscript the first time and feeling like it's a good manuscript, despite whatever edits and comments I made on the first pass. And knowing that I'll go through it twice more, slowly and happily since I know it's workable.

    But I agree with Maryann. The best feeling is when I get a copy of the published book. It is so exciting to see it in print.

  6. Reading something fresh that hasn't been printed yet and seeing the potential has to be a great feeling.

    Morgan Mandel


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