The Author's Voice
What's the Word Blog
“You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page.” ~Jodi Picoult
Having a CLEAR message for your audience is necessary so they understand the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, AND WHY. Editing is the process by which you can make sure you are CLEAR on these 5 Ws. An editor is one of the most important professionals you can invest in for your business. They lend an objective eye towards your writing so you can be sure the 5 Ws are properly covered. Working with an editor is taking your work and sculpting it into a form of art.
Peter recently shared “How to Work With an Editor: The 4 Steps of Editing Your Book” in which he discusses the four unique editing stages. Today, I’m going to discuss two commonly heard editing terms it’s important for all writers and business owners to understand: editing and proofreading.
The editing process look is unique for each type of project. The one common element is editing makes sure your message flows from one point to the next, the structure of your story is consistent, and you cover all of the topics from your outline.
Editing starts off with the big picture and then gradually focuses in on the smaller, more detailed items. A book goes through developmental editing first. That is, an editor will read through the book looking for errors in the overarching story. They make sure the author is appropriately making the point they want to make. Here is where you might rearrange paragraphs, sections, or even chapters to make sure the reader can understand your story.
Next up comes the line edit. Here is where the overall structure of the piece has been decided and the editor focuses in on the small details. Did the author use the correct word choice? Are you using the active voice instead of the passive voice? Are character’s details matching (do the character’s eyes stay the same color? Do they spell their name the same throughout?)? This is where smaller areas of the book can be changed.
Developmental editing can save your business big time! Take the follow example: You are writing a small white paper to discuss the importance of marketing through social media. You start the paper by highlighting three sections, reach, community, and story. But as your editor reads through your paper they find you have mixed your community and reach sections together. An editor would help you clarify your sections so your reader is more likely to understand you and use your services.
I realize there comes a time where “good is good enough,” but editing/proofreading is something you can’t take for granted. Any time an email, blog, or social media post goes out with a mistake in it, I cringe. I realize it isn’t feasible to send your emails out to be proofed; however, it is necessary to have your marketing materials professionally edited. Making the investment for your website copy, your lead magnets, your downloadable PDF, or your book to be edited is a smart business move. One of the easiest ways to spot a bad message is to see words spelled incorrectly or consistent use of the wrong words (they’re, their, there, here, hear, and the list continues).
This process takes into consideration making sure there is consistency in grammar, capitalization, numbers, and punctuation.
Proofreading can literally mean life or death. My proofreading skills went into launch mode when I had my medical transcription company. It was imperative to make sure the information we transcribed was correct and attention to detail was critical. If the physician dictated right knee replacement and 45 seconds later dictated he was going to perform a left knee replacement it had to be pointed out and questioned.
Below is a true story of what happened to a friend and colleague of mine.
I was visiting my friend and she had received the printer’s proof of her book for review. I asked her if I could read it. She said yes, and while I wasn’t reading it for corrections, I noticed an error on her Acknowledgment page. A very notable, high-level business coach’s name was misspelled. I had a pencil so I made a small mark in the book and kept reading. After a bit of time I asked my friend if her copy had been proofread. She said yes. At this point I had noticed about ten misspelled words and other issues in her printer's proof. I wasn’t quite sure how to broach the subject, but mentioned this to her. She was shocked to say the least. My friend then asked me if I would proof it. Of course, I said yes!
After proofing the book, I came to the bibliography and my brain said, “well if this has been professionally proofed I shouldn’t have to review it.” (Okay, bibliographies are no fun to check :)), but I pride myself on finishing a job no matter what. While verifying the references I came across an author’s name and the title of the book and both were misspelled!
Editing is an investment for your business. Whenever a piece of information goes out to your audience, it’s important for you to have a second set of eyes read it, whether it’s a blog, a white paper, a book, or a short social media post. The chance for an error or omission to be caught or an issue of where the writing could be clearer can mean the difference between winning a client and losing one.
Colleen Wietmarschen’s investment in the quality of her service saved me from huge embarrassment. Because Colleen’s initiative went the extra distance to check the name spelling of individuals cited in my book, gross errors were found and eliminated. Colleen’s specific knowledge, high standards and keen attention to detail bring comfort to anyone who wants to put forth a quality product. You are putting in so much of yourself, have Colleen polish your work to present it in its finest form.”
~Ellen Seigel, LISW-S, Hypnotherapy/Psychotherapy
Looking to create a CLEAR message for you, your business, and your brand so your audience connects with you? Schedule a complimentary strategy session with us!