First of all, I would like to thank Zoe for the opportunity to speak a little bit about freelance editing. Thanks!
I never planned on going into editing or freelance editing in particular. When I was asked by the owners of Creeping Hemlock Press to help proofread one of their titles in 2008 (Children of the New Disorder by Tim Lebbon & Lindy Moore) I was more than happy to jump into the editing realm with both feet. Lebbon has long been one of my favorite authors, so it was pretty much a dream job. In 2010, I helped with another Creeping Hemlock title (Campus Tramp by Lawrence Block, yes, that Lawrence Block).
What I thought would be a couple of fun gigs opened my eyes to something I now truly love—helping authors make the most of their stories. What does that mean? Well, I tell my clients that I don't just edit to correct proper grammar and spelling. Basically, if there is a way to improve a sentence I make note of it. I start at the sentence level and work my way up to the paragraph and chapter levels. Beyond the basics of a good proofreading, some of the things I look for that can greatly improve a manuscript include:
1. Does the sentence make sense? Does one sentence build off the previous? Do the sentences build a strong paragraph? Does one paragraph build off the previous? Does each chapter start and finish with some kind of hook (or complication or reveal. Something important to the plot.)?
2. Is the POV not only established and unwavering, but strong? Does the author frame the POV through the main character's senses and emotions?
3. Does the dialog advance the plot, or is the narrative just a long series of block exposition? Does the dialog sound stilted or robotic, or does it flow organically?
4. Does the story itself flow? Does the plot advance? Is there conflict?
5. Is the plot logical (if it needs to be)? Does the story finish strong, even if it's just one title in a series?
6. Are the details historically accurate? I've been known to research the year limes were introduced to the Americas or when certain weapons were first manufactured.
I get a great deal of satisfaction from working with authors. I'm a fulltime author/editor, so I'm pretty much on-call for my clients. I work for authors who are trying their hand at self- publishing, as well as authors wanting to submit a professionally edited manuscript to publishers. If you are in need of an editor who will help you develop and hone your craft, please drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org). I can give you a free sample edit to show you more about what I tried to explain above. I also give multi-title discounts. If I like working with a client, I want to keep working with them as they advance through their career.
I hope this little post sheds some light on what a freelance editor (well, at least this one) can do for an author. Not all editors are created equal, so please make sure to research what kind of skill level they bring to a project before you commit to hiring them.
Thanks again, Zoe!