Do I Need a Writer, an Editor, or Someone Else?

If you are unfamiliar with the publishing process, you may wonder how a writer, editor, copyeditor, or proofreader can help you. I have worked on projects in all of these roles, and here’s my brief overview of how they serve a publication.

Writer: You may need a writer if you have a lot of ideas but you can’t seem to get them down on paper. A writer can take your stream-of-consciousness thoughts or interview you to create the document you intend to publish. That may be a website, a book, or something else. Writers can also create documents with prompts you give them or a research topic to investigate. I write for many different clients and some of my projects have included writing articles, ghostwriting books or blog posts, summarizing case studies, and more.

Editor: This is a very general title and I would lean toward putting the word “developmental” in front of the title as it concerns an individual seeking help. This person can look at your work so far and give you ideas of how to reshape or retool it to meet your intended audience. A developmental editor can also help you work on flow and ask probing questions to help you dig deeper into your document. At a publishing house, an editor may also be a managing or acquiring editor. A managing editor coordinates all aspects of the publishing process and an acquiring editor finds content to publish.

Copyeditor: This person will copyedit a document that is in very good shape and almost ready for publication. This person uses a style book or style guide (and a dictionary!) to correct grammar, usage, and style errors. A copyeditor may also point out sentences that need clarification or suggest adding headings to improve readability. A copyeditor will also format references in a bibliography or notes section as well as inquire about permissions for artwork or long passages that you borrowed from another source. Your copyeditor may also be willing to fact-check a document if you request it.

Proofreader: A proofreader looks at a nearly published document usually set in its final form. A proofreader will only correct egregious errors like misspellings or the odd (or missing) punctuation mark. The proofreader ensures that everything looks clean and tidy to avoid embarrassing mistakes appearing in the final publication.

There are of course other roles in publishing like typesetters, designers, agents, reviewers, fact-checkers, translators, and more. Before you get too far with your work, however, consider whether you need one (or more) of these types of people involved in your document. Feel free to contact me to chat about your project, and I can provide you with an assessment of what I think you need.

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Client Profile: Envivo Creative

I’m so glad I hired Natalie to write my website copy for me. All I had was a set of (what I thought were) incoherent notes about what I wanted my website to say and she was able to turn them into very readable copy that stayed true to my brand’s voice. It was like magic! She was happy to hear my suggestions and my hesitations and offered great advice when it was needed. I will definitely be hiring Natalie again in the future. She was a pleasure to work with!

— Tara Wilder, Envivo Creative

EnvivoCreative-mediumIn September, I had the great experience of collaborating with Tara Wilder, founder of Envivo Creative. Tara recently decided to leave her position as an online marketer for an information technology company to start a business that offers clients dynamic, results-driven online marketing campaigns. She even has a background in psychology, so she can really get into the head of your target market!

Tara WilderWhen I first spoke to Tara, she was finding it difficult to write the copy for her website. She decided to outsource this task, and I quickly realized that she was hitting writing roadblocks because she was too close to the project. After all, she lived and breathed Envivo Creative day in and day out — creating her business plan, working with a business coach, building her website, and attracting initial clients. As is so often the case, I could create her copy quickly and efficiently because of my distance from the business. I don’t stumble over ideas because I am mulling over the possibilities in my head, which can happen so often to entrepreneurs.

The Process

Tara and I began our collaboration with a 30-minute phone conversation. She discussed her company, and I asked relevant questions. Following our initial talk, I asked her to send me materials about her business as well as other ideas she had related to the copy. She requested writing samples, which I was happy to provide to her (and any other potential client).

For the next three weeks, Tara and I traded emails and ideas. I created a first draft of the copy, which she returned to me with notes and suggestions. We developed a great working relationship that fostered honest and productive feedback. By the end of our project, we felt like close colleagues, despite never meeting in person.

I am so excited to see how Tara’s business unfolds. I know Envivo Creative will help any small business get off the ground or grow with the effective marketing campaigns Tara and her team create. And I can’t wait to work with her and other entrepreneurs in the future. Helping someone develop ideas into coherent prose is one of my true passions.