Ticking the editors’ ten


Checklists born of experience can be very useful and this one by writer Elizabeth Cottrell and her editor, Karen Elliott, is especially so.

Only the last point, about digital formatting, does not apply to editing generally, which points up the fact that whatever the medium of publication, meticulous editing and proofreading are essential processes.

A non-editor friend or family member can sometimes be too polite, or so careful of damaging a promising new writer’s self-confidence (easily done!), that they avoid mentioning the errors — or, more often, are simply unaware of them. We show the same polite restraint to migrants’ struggles with English, when they would probably welcome a correction if their aim were to improve their expression.

On the other hand, well-meaning but tactless or conflicting suggestions to writers can be at best unhelpful. Editing is, after all, a learned skill and profession. Few editors do their own plumbing or electricity wiring for the same reason; they call in an expert.

One of my clients has just sent me the link to Elizabeth’s checklist, and I am pleased that we can honestly say that even without its excellent advice we did tick all 10 boxes (and then some!).

It’s a pleasure to work with a writer who values a high-quality result. This client has worked her way up the learning curve of digital publishing largely on her own, and I have learned a lot from her experience. We started off with print in mind, but after experimenting with self-publishing the e-book on Amazon, she has continued with the print version at her readers’ request.

The first criterion in Elizabeth’s 10-point list is vitally important to me in choosing the work I accept to edit: ‘does it educate, entertain or inspire?’ The second, which seems to follow naturally from that choice, is the growth of the author-editor relationship of ‘Know, Trust and Like’.

Sharing with a client a mutual desire for quality and the willingness to be almost obsessive in achieving it is (despite the stress) enormously satisfying — and Elizabeth’s and Karen’s 10 essential steps are clearly the result of such experience.

Quillpower’s rating: 10 out of 10!


About quillpoweronline

I'm an editor at Quillpower PR Publishing. Specialising in 'things that are lovely and of good report'. I work with writers to gently brush away irrelevancies to reveal the buried treasure, or chisel meaning from a block of text. As an accredited editor (Inst. Prof. Editors Ltd) with experience in advertising, public relations, news and feature writing and editing for all media I help communicators put a professional shine on their message. But here on the blog, it's after hours, and I may do an elongated tweet every now and then, point up an absurdity, or simply post one of my ancient scribbles before it and I crumble into dust. BTW, WordPress chooses the ads (if any) on my blog. Quid pro quo.
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2 Responses to Ticking the editors’ ten

  1. Christina, I so appreciate your endorsement of the points in my article at The Future of Ink and especially your support of the spirit behind it. The editor/client relationship is so important, and when they both have high standards, as you and your client clearly do, the results will be superlative. Thank you, too, for posting these comments on your blog. I look forward to following you in the future.

  2. Geez oh man, I could write a blog about this blog (make a note, Karen). The “10 Essential Steps” – all Elizabeth’s work. Elizabeth and I have developed a relationship. I know when her writing is “off” or if she was tired when writing.

    Writers – Stop, STOP, having non-writing friends “edit” and “proofread” your work. Stop looking for an editor via the yellow pages. I get queries all the time from strangers, “My book is done. It’s been edited and proofread by my Aunt ___, my English teacher neighbor, and all my best friends.” Ack!

    Quill – You and I need to chat.

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