How to know if you are working with a good editor

Publishing your work can be a daunting task. Anyone who has published a manuscript, book or even something as simple as a short article has most likely gone through a very stringent process with their publishers in making sure that work is ready before it is distributed to readers. For this reason, many publishers encourage first-time or even experienced authors to seek editorial assistance.

Working with an editor will require you to invest time and resources so here are a some pointers that can help you know if you are working with a good editor:

1. They make you a better writer.

A good editor is a good writer but not all good writers can be editors. As any good writer, an editor must have sharp critical thinking skills, excellent command of the language being used (be it English, Spanish, French, etc.) and expert-level understanding of rules set by grammar and technical writing. They need these skills to bring out the best in the author they are working with. As your partner, it is not only an editor’s job to fix your paper and get rid of writing errors so you can move forward and submit your work. They should be able to ask the right questions that will help you re-evaluate your work and provide recommendations so that you can bring your writing to a better direction. A good editor should be patient in helping the author realize why improvements are necessary so they know what changes to make. An editor’s foremost responsibility is to coach an author so that they become more competent writers.   

2. They have some level of expertise in your field of study

While there are many competent editors who can work with you, it is important to select one that has some level of expertise in your field of study. For instance, if you are working on a paper about the 2008 financial crisis, it will be ideal to work with an editor whose background is in the field of economics, finance or even business. While this is not always a strict requirement, an editor who has a firm grasp of the topic can provide more substantive comments and may even offer additional insights that can help you craft your thoughts and arguments better. Before working with an editor, it pays to spend some time to ask them about their expertise and background.

3. They understand the publishing process

It is also ideal to work with an editor who already has experience publishing with major journals and newspapers. In the case of publishing journal articles, publishers maintain high standards and strict preferences when selecting the papers they will accept and publish. An experienced editor can guide you through the nuances of the submission process and can help you focus on the most essential elements of you work. They can help you raise the chances of having your paper accepted and published even in the first submission, thereby saving you a lot of time and effort.

Do you have other things you watch out for before working with an editor? Share them in the comments section below.

Need help in editing your paper or article? Checkout APS’ Editing and Proofreading services here.

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