Top Five Guiding Principles in Book Editing

Even the greatest works need a bit of perfecting. Perhaps more than what seems necessary on the surface. This is a truth that gets truer on the note of book writing. And this is the biggest reason why every writer could use a book editor. So for anyone who wants to embrace the whole book editing endeavor, let me share you some tips I have proven for myself to be effective means to becoming a book editor for hire – because, yes, we do it for a living.

Disclaimer: Since there is not a single determining path to connoisseur editorships, it is rather entirely possible that not any of these empirically reaped tips would apply to your situation. This is writing coming from personal experience, but given that I’ve seen a myriad of editors succeed by trailing the same tracks, I guess these are – to some extent — universal truths in the editing business.

The best I have learned from these professional editors, there’s not really a way for one to become an editor. It is a decision that is determined by the self and to set about doing what an editor would do.

With all that said, here’s a list of seven guiding principles that has worked for me as much as they had worked for the people I have learned from:

1.Discovering Predilection
What editors really love to do is read. They dance together with words, punctuation and language. Simply put, they love to read both critically and voraciously. It’s not just a balance of quantitative and qualitative reading, but the excellence of both. Through this, professional book editors for hire are able to notice every shift in language. When an apostrophe seems to be abused, they would wince about it. Unnecessary passives, they abhor those. Do remember, though, that not every grammarian is an editor. To edit means to be flexible in one’s approach towards language together with an in-depth understanding that there is not just one subjunctive to employ. You might find yourself in a situation that forces you to admit that you can’t edit. But know this: In our circle of professional editors, a common turning point was when we learned we had to control the prescriptivist inside us.

2.Removing the Academic Bias
Proper education gives an advantage an advantage, yes. But the academe does not do anything more than the possibility of raising your potentials. Whatever actions come from out of these potentials are all decisions made by a person for himself. This is where more aspiring editors falter. They think that because they have not a degree in literature or in English linguistics, they are automatically unqualified to be an editor. The truth is quite the opposite, especially in these modern times. So long as you have a great command of the English language and can prove yourself to be an improving entity, you can be hired for book editing jobs both in the local and online community. So the bigger lesson in this principle is that it’s all in the mind, to be confident of what you’re capable of and to prove these qualities to those necessary.

3. Loving Books
Writers can be editors. Editors can be writers. A common thing established by this truism is that a writer and editor love books. They just do, because this is how it all begins, by reading. It is only by reading one thing after another that an editor becomes familiar of different styles in writing, the several infamous exceptions in grammar, unique and persuasive ways to open a paragraph and to present a conclusion and so many other things relevant to anyone in the literary business as editing. One has to cancel out any inhibitors such as the though of a low book editor salary. How effective you are as an editor is almost always equated with how much books you have read and the genres that you follow. And that requires a lot of loving to what one is doing. Eventually, when you have proven yourself to be more than just a potential, but an actively master editor, all those book worming turns out to be worth it. But even if for anyone who’s not taking this career path, it’s always a pleasure to learn as much as it is the best way to spend one’s time.

4. Seeking Help from Others
I had to ask myself the same question over and over again back in the days when I was still trying to make sense of what I was doing. I had to ask my freelance editor friend, “How do I go about becoming an effective editor?” Unfortunately, I was not able to find anything that reassured me, which led me to continue searching for a clearer path. Others would tell me to just go find an editor who’s looking for a junior editor because they can definitely give better advice or more to the point, direct you with what exactly it is that you need to do. It is not only with one editor that I have worked with, but with several more along the way and in every one of them, I had learned things beyond just the basics and several minor changes that were necessary to make a greater approach in editing.

5. Knowing How to Find a Book Editor
It takes one to know one. Basically, you have to find a book editor that will not only serve as your partner, but more of a mentor. You need someone to continue guiding you throughout your career path even if people begin seeing you as a highly praised book editor with a plethora of accolades lined up in shelves. Remember that the key to perfection is to think that it can never be had. There are only great works and just like the mysteries of the universe, perfection is something you would choose to stop searching for. Thus, it is something you would never claim for yourself.

Indeed, go find a book editor who will be honest enough to tell where you fall short. Most importantly, follow all these principles.

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