Hey guys! Today I’m bringing you something super special and that is an interview I did with my editor! Nicki has worked with me for copyedits of both Silent Night and Sacred Ruse and I enjoyed every minute. I thought it would be fun to interview her and give my fellow writers and readers some insight into the editing world. So without further ado, here is the interview.
Tell us about yourself and the services you offer at Richards’ Corrections.
My name is Nicki Richards (owner of Richards’ Corrections) and I’m a freelance copy-editor/proofreader! Utilizing the methods of both copy-editing and proofreading, I read through manuscripts (whether they be fiction, non-fiction, academic papers, business manuals, etc.) and not only correct issues with grammar, spelling, and punctuation, but also adjust word choice and sentence structure for maximum clarity and overall flow. Additionally, I make commentary on any inconsistencies or errors I notice in the plot, or suggestions to make certain parts pop. I ask questions, I react, and I just generally interact with the material as much as possible. My ultimate goal is to make the manuscript the best it can be, and I love working together with the author to accomplish that.
How long have you been in the business?
I’ve been honing and practicing my editing skills for upwards of five years, and have been professionally freelancing for about two.
Have you always worked for yourself in the editing world?
So far, yes. Occasionally I get work from publishing consultants or other editors who outsource manuscripts for me to edit, but I am an independent contractor who mostly works directly with the authors.
How long does it typically take to edit a novel?
For the average novel (usually 50-100k words), I typically give myself two weeks to a month to complete it, depending on the exact length. It’s incredibly dependent on the story. Sometimes manuscripts require a bit more “untangling” of the writing style to make it clear and concise. There are times where I might need to reread a single paragraph about five times after I’ve reworked it to make sure it makes sense before I move on. Or sometimes, before I’ve even reworked it, I need to reread sections multiple times to try and decipher what the author is trying to say if I don’t understand it right away. All those little rereads add up, and make for a longer time. I can range anywhere from 2000-8000 words edited per hour, all depending on the story.
What type of editing is your favourite to do?
As much as I love adding commas (as anyone who’s worked with me will know), I think copy-editing fiction is the most rewarding. When an author changes their story for the better because of something I’ve suggested, it feels really amazing. Luckily, everyone I’ve worked with has been very open to constructive criticism or suggestions, which makes the whole process easier and more enjoyable for all involved. I like to tell people that I’m not here to viciously slash their life’s work to pieces with a red pen, I’m just here to help!
Do you find certain genres easier to edit?
I’m not sure about genres that are the easiest, but I do know the genres that are the hardest. Any books that require world-building can be difficult, like high fantasy, sci-fi, or dystopian. Not only am I trying to focus on how the author is writing the story and the plotline itself, but I’m also trying to remember everything about an entirely new world with its own rules I’m not familiar with. I have to make sure this world-building makes sense, is explained clearly, and is consistent. Depending on the complexity of the world, it can be a lot to keep track of.
What is your favourite genre to read?
My favourite genre would have to be romance. I’m a sucker for a good, well-written love story. I’m also a huge fan of nineteenth-century British literature.
If you weren’t an editor, what would you do instead?
When I was a kid, all the way up to my first year of university, I thought I wanted to be an English teacher. It’s possible I might be teaching kids about Shakespeare right about now! Although, in an ideal world, I would be an author.
Any editing tips for new writers?
Don’t be afraid to reread and rework! I know that sometimes when we work very hard for a very long time on something and we finally finish it, we might want to close the door on it at long last. To that I say, celebrate being done, take a break, but then get back to it and start another draft! There’s no limit to how many drafts you can have (to put it in perspective, when Emma gave me “Sacred Ruse,” it was draft six). Even if you don’t want to do formal drafts, I still suggest rereading your story as many times as you can stomach before sending it forward to a professional. Read your story as if you’re reading it for the first time, trying to gauge whether it makes sense to someone who’s never heard of this world and these characters before. Also, another tip that I find extremely helpful is to read your story out loud! Oftentimes that can help you find mistakes your eyes kept skipping over, or helps you improve the flow of the story if you hear that your words don’t sound as smooth as you meant them to be.
Do you have any openings now? If not, when do you expect to open again?
I do indeed have openings! If you’re interested in pursuing my services, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And that's all I have for you today. I highly recommend Nicki and can't wait to work with her again for book 3. Drop any questions below if you have any and I'll do my best to answer. Stay tuned for next week's post on self publishing and as always, keep writing.