Having a great editor in your corner is a key step to success, especially for the self-published author who doesn’t have an agent or publisher to work on book development beyond the first drafts.
Writers’ Retreat UK caught up with Danielle Wrate, a highly experienced editor who is the Founder of London-based Wrate’s Editing Services. We asked Danielle a few questions about her work as an editor:
What are some common mistakes you see, as an editor, in the self-published books you read?
Poor punctuation. Something as simple as a comma in the wrong place can really change the flow of a sentence. However, I wouldn’t get to the point of reading a self-published book unless it had a decent cover. Amateurish covers, for instance, where the resolution of the image used hasn’t been high enough, or the title looks like it’s been done using Microsoft Word, makes me think the rest of the book will be poorly put together.
What do you like best about working with authors?
Making things happen for them. When an author comes to me, I know they have already put hours of work into their book and have a vision for it, but they don’t necessarily know where to start when it comes to publishing it. It’s a good feeling to be able to reassure them that I can help them achieve their ultimate goal – the one that made them put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) in the first place.
As an editor, do you have to enjoy the genre to be able to edit effectively?
No. At the copy editing stage especially, you are effectively looking at each sentence as a separate entity and watching out for things to fix, such as repetition and poor copy flow. I enjoy doing this whatever the genre, but it’s certainly a bonus if I’m also learning something new or can’t wait to start work so I can find out what happens next in a novel.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
It’s quite a solitary profession and it also involves high levels of concentration – I certainly can’t listen to the radio or chat when I’m working. However, this is also a good thing, as it keeps my mind constantly active and puts me in the so-called ‘flow’, where everything else drifts off into the background.
As an editor, what would be the single most useful piece of advice you could give an author?
Hire a friendly, competent editor (check out their reviews first) and take note of their feedback. Do not try and edit your book yourself (you’re too close to the subject) or give it to a friend or family member (they’re too close to you). One of the main benefits of hiring an editor is that they are impartial and will be coming to your work with fresh eyes.
Wrate’s Editing Services offers editing and self-publishing services to authors of fiction and nonfiction and can be contacted at:
Telephone: 0208 6700 660