Hiring an English Major to Edit Your Book Is Cheating Yourself

I think I found out the hard way that not everyone who hangs out their shingle and claims to be an editor, really is. This article brings that home 🙂

Change It Up Editing

I belong to a listserve of freelance editors, and I find the topics of conversation interesting and often thought-provoking. One recent ID-100146866topic that elicited many comments was about pricing the work we do.

The initial post was by an established and well-respected editor who wrote, “I recently was asked about my rates by someone at a local company who was looking for writing and editing help. She balked at my quote . . . Her response: < … we can find English majors for $10 to $15 [per hour] and many of them are quite good. >”

I get it; no one wants to spend more than necessary for anything—goods or services. I mean, if I can buy a knock-off designer widget that looks just like the brand-name widget, isn’t that a better value than buying the real thing just for the brand name? If I can get my next-door neighbor’s…

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4 thoughts on “Hiring an English Major to Edit Your Book Is Cheating Yourself

  1. Not all editors are created equal. I’m an English major with a solid background in creative writing, literary journal production, not to mention developing creative writing curriculum for classes. I would agree that an English major whose background lacks in certain area, might not be cut out for the job. That’s why it’s great to get a sample edit beforehand.

  2. Editing is a separate skill set from writing or even understanding the English language. It’s so much more than mere words. I often feel like half the time, I’m a profiler, getting under the skin of the characters my clients have created, making sure what they do is consistent with who they are — and most especially not who I want them to be.
    I’ve been approached by people who want to work for West of Mars, who claim that they were taught how to edit by their history teacher in college. I wouldn’t want someone with that history working on my contemporary romance!

    Editing is a skill and good editing is an art. The best editors learn from masters and pros. They study language and character and sociology and all sorts of other things you’d never think they’d need to know. My latest is everything there is to know about guns. Ever notice how many books have guns in them?

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