Edits By Knight

An editor's dream

When I was younger, I did quite a bit of creative writing, both stories and poetry. Now I’m a freelance editor and I love every minute. What changed? Actually, not that much.

If you’re interested in freelancing, be sure to check out Freelancing: An Editor’s Journey for a personal look into the trials–and rewards–of being your own boss. 

     When I tell people I’ve taken up a career in editing, I sometimes get a response that amounts to “Why would you want to do that?” It seems that many people view editing as a necessary evil, something that no one in their right mind actually wants to do, let alone enjoys.

     As you have probably gathered, I am an exception to this rule. I love to edit. There’s something about finding the little details that have been overlooked, something in changing the wording just so to tweak it in the right direction, that is immeasurably satisfying to me. Even as a kid, I would find errors in the books I was reading and wonder, Why didn’t anyone catch that?

     It helps that I’m something of a perfectionist. Of course, this is also the main reason I don’t really write anymore; nothing I do seems good enough to me. Now, don’t get sad or feel sorry for me because of this! I honestly don’t want to write, at least not for a living. I have a hard enough time coming up with blog posts! I love reading more than just about anything, and if I was trying to write I’d probably never have time or brainspace to spare on reading for pleasure.

     That’s another cool thing about editing: I’m basically doing the same thing I do when I’m reading for pleasure, except now I’m actually changing things, typing out my thoughts, and having conversations with the great minds that come up with the stories (and getting paid to boot). Talk about exhilarating! 

     This is why I almost exclusively edit fantasy novels. A large majority of the books I read for pleasure fall into the fantasy/sci-fi genre, so not only does the work of editing them become fun, but I also have a vast repository of information to draw from to make suggestions and/or comparisons. 

Seeing my name in "Time Sneak: Emergence" by my client Edge O. Erin made me feel pretty awesome.

     Then there’s the satisfaction of seeing the finished product once the book is published. It’s especially gratifying when you read it and note the changes you suggested in the finished product. Being mentioned in the “Acknowledgements” section is also cool, but as an editor I don’t mind being behind the scenes at all. In fact, I don’t want the reader to know I was even there–the book should be the author’s, not mine. I’m just there to bring out the best in the story, and the author, if I can.

     That’s another part of this job that I love. Developing a relationship with my clients is one of the most rewarding parts of the process. As you get to know a writer, you start to see them in the story they’ve created; that, in turn, helps you understand why they’ve made some of the choices they made. Getting to know an author is getting to know their style. I try to make it a point to keep up with my clients even after the project is over; some of them have become good friends, and those can be hard to find.

     Another good thing about editing: there is always work available. Since the pandemic began, a lot of people have turned to working on things they always wanted to do but could never make the time for. With less opportunity to get out, a lot of people began to put their ideas onto paper, and even when things started to get closer to normal they kept at it. Sure, sometimes you might have to take less glamorous jobs (proofreading emails, transcribing pdfs, etc.) but once you get a good portfolio and do some heavy networking you can start to pick and choose what projects you want to take on. I don’t envy writers of the whole querying process, either! While you will have to seek out jobs as an editor, at least once you have a gig you are guaranteed to get paid; writers have to fight to get published, and even then they still have to market like crazy to really turn a profit.

     It really boils down to the fact that I love to read. It’s definitely my favorite leisure activity. I’ve known writers that hardly read at all, but I bet you won’t meet an editor that doesn’t. After all, reading is basically research for an editor, if you think about it. I know what I like in a book, and I know what precedents have been set, so I take those and apply them to my work. Sure, many of my suggestions come from personal preference, but I always make sure my clients know that, and that my feelings won’t be hurt if they decide to ignore them.

     All in all, I’m happy with my choice to edit. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and finally getting to do it feels like a dream come true. I can only hope that there are others out there who feel the same!

Be sure to check out my blog for personal stories and tips on freelancing and writing!

Michaeli lives in Harvest, Alabama with her fiance, Mark. They have two cats, Henry and Louise, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. In her spare time, Michaeli enjoys playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

Michaeli lives in Harvest, Alabama with her fiance, Mark. They have two cats, Henry and Louise, and live the quiet and satisfying lives of two nerdy introverts. In her spare time, Michaeli enjoys playing the piano, singing, playing JRPGs, Tabletop gaming, and (of course) reading.

For more about me, visit my blog here.