“Few people realize how badly they write. Nobody has shown them how much excess or murkiness has crept into their style and how it obstructs what they are trying to say.”
—William Zinsser, On Writing Well
Why You Need an Editor, and What I Can Do for You
If you’re an entrepreneur with marketing materials…
I will check your materials for grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. If your marketing materials are riddled with mistakes, your readers will stop paying attention to what you have to say. Even worse, your prospective customers might not trust you and your products or services.
These kinds of problems reflect poorly on your business.
If your content doesn’t make sense, you’ll frustrate your existing and prospective customers or clients. If your copy isn’t accurate, especially your contact information, you may prevent them from giving you their business. I have seen these mistakes before.
If what you’ve written makes sense to you, it doesn’t guarantee that others will understand what you’re saying. You need someone to look over what you’ve written, someone who knows what to look for and how to correct it.
If you’re a nonfiction book author…
I will check your manuscript for correctness, clarity, conciseness, consistency, and word choice. Even if you’ve read your manuscript a dozen times, it often takes a second pair of professional eyes to find the errors you’re not seeing. You know what you’re saying, so your brain can easily compensate for your mistakes. For example, your brain can easily fill in the missing word in this phrase: “as soon Nancy got home.”
Your manuscript needs to be grammatically correct, with no errors in punctuation or spelling. You don’t want mistakes to be a distraction for your readers, especially if your readers are potential publishers or agents, or to cause them to question your intelligence or expertise. I will minimize that likelihood by correcting your manuscript.
If your readers stumble over unclear or ambiguous wording, you’ll only frustrate or annoy them. I’ll correct that so they’ll understand your intended meaning.
Why say in five words what you can say in one? Why write “at this point in time” when “now” suffices? I’ll reduce your clutter and redundancies to create a smoother read.
I check for consistency in style, names, dates, spellings, and facts. If you mention the date of a historical event, and later you give a different date, I will change whichever one is incorrect, or point it out so you can correct it.
Sometimes writers use the wrong word. It might have a negative connotation that doesn’t convey the right message. I look out for these problematic words and recommend an alternative.
Editing, Then Proofreading
Ideally, editing is the first step, before a graphic designer flows your manuscript or marketing copy into a design. Once it’s edited and designed, proofreading is the final check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and also for various typographic problems and inconsistencies.
If editing is done after the piece is designed, you’ll end up spending more money because only the graphic designer will be able to make those corrections. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to make changes in a Word document.