We’re talking about the four questions I get asked most frequently. I’ve answered: 1. Must you write to a preset wordcount, classify your novel in a predetermined genre, ‘dumb down’ your novel? And we’ve talked about 3. What is this Line Editing thing of which I speak and why do I keep speaking of it? and 4. What’s the inside scoop on the state of publishing these days i.e. POD, ebooks, self-publishing, multimedia, et cetera? I mean, what’s really going on out there?
So let’s talk about the second of these four most Frequently Asked Questions:
2. How do you know which freelance independent editors are good and which ones are shysters?
I understand that you guys don’t come here only for editing, you also come here for reliable, trustworthy advice on the writing industry—so I will give you a bulleted reference list just in case tomorrow I go out and get hit by a bus, leaving you all alone in this world of excellent editors and terrible shysters.
The answer lies in one word:
If you happen to live in a town where editors hang out their shingles on real street addresses, all I can say is you live in one FABULOUS town. But if you don’t, you’re probably shopping for an editor here in the blogosphere.
So do your due diligence.
Look them up.
Good editors have a vested interest in demonstrating the difference between themselves and shysters, especially at this particular moment in publishing history. Not only that, but their online presence should make that demonstration really easy to locate.
Check out their sites—do they share their knowledge of the craft?
I’ve been maintaining this blog on writing since early 2009. Until I turned off comments in late 2012, I tried to stay active and respond to commenters, although sometimes I got swamped with editing work and let you all carry the ball. (You’re great conversationalists!)
That’s years of backlogged proof that I know what I’m talking about when I talk about writing. All except the posts I took down, polished within an inch of their lives, and put in my. . .
In 2010 we at La Favorita Press released Art & Craft of Writing Fiction: 1st Writer’s Manual.
You guys even helped me with this. Remember when you all voted on the cover? And you were really patient with me when I blogged gibberish for a few days right before the ebook release date? And you cheered me on when we finally got the print book released too (seven months later)? You people are so wonderful—the very essence of self-publishing, I swear.
In 2011 we released Art & Craft of Writing Stories: 2nd Writer’s Manual.
And in 2015 we released Art & Craft of Writing: Favorite Advice for Writers.
I also now have a FREE EBOOK Art & Craft of Writing: Secret Advice for Writers.
I love writing these books. Wow. I love being—to all of you and to the aspiring writer who still lives in my head—the mentor I needed myself when I started out in this craft thirty years ago. And I love hearing from writers who’ve read my books.
Thank you all. From the bottom of my heart.
Showing you that I know what quality published books look like helps enormously.
If you like my books, you’ll probably like working with me.
- Sample work
I post examples of my Developmental Editing Letters and my Copy & Line Editing. This stuff is all up on my Editing Services page. I even used to run freebie editing specials once in awhile when I had time.
- Client testimonials
I maintain a page of client testimonials, snippets of which appear at the top of my blog. I also post the names of my published clients on my sidebar, so you can see some of the authors who hire me. I also list the highly-regarded literary agents of my publishing clients.
I run around the Web getting myself interviewed periodically. You can’t trust me with your manuscript if you’ve never met me.
- Freebie advice
One year I wrote the editorial advice column, Ask Victoria, for the Writer Unboxed newsletter, opposite literary agent Donald Maass and Ask Chuck, by Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest.
And I still maintain my own Advice Column on this blog, where you can ask questions. There’s a lot of stuff there, and it’s still active. Ask a question!
I’m on Twitter. Ask me a question—you’ll be amazed how many people chime in.
And I’m on Facebook. That’s where I post my favorite quotes by my beloved favorite authors and talk about my current editing projects.
- About page
Of course, every website has an About page. You need to know who this person is.
I’ve been published a number of times—by a Big Five publisher, by literary magazines, by lots of technical companies, until I decided I wanted to go indie with my books on writing. I had also been editing a lot of journalism and nonfiction for years before I became a freelance independent editor. And I’ve received one or two humble accolades.
I put all that information there, where it’s really easy to find.
All of this shows you “who this freelance independent editor is and what she knows.” Those of you shopping for an editor get the chance to make up your own minds about my qualifications before you ever even think about contacting me. It requires a sizable commitment of energy and dedication from me, but I want you to make an educated decision.
An editor’s very best marketing technique lies in revealing the full extent of their knowledge and experience—and trusting the rest to their clients’ intelligence.