I’ve personally known Lorraine Fico-White for a while now, and serve with her on the board of directors of the Charlotte Writers’ Club. A professional editor, she discusses the role editors play in the writing process and how indies can make their books the best they can be.
1. Tell me about the editing services you provide.
I am a certified editor providing editing and proofreading services to authors. Authors contact me before they self-publish or send out query letters. I provide a free sample edit of the author’s work, evaluating the level of editing required and identifying ways to improve the manuscript’s marketability. I also assist authors in developing personal bios and summaries for the book cover, creating discussion questions, and critiquing query letters and synopses.
2. What’s the difference between editing and proofreading?
Proofreading identifies grammar, punctuation, spelling, and typographical errors as well as formatting inconsistencies. Basic copyediting includes proofreading in addition to ensuring content continuity, correct and effective word usage, and clarity of concepts.
Heavier editing includes basic copyediting tasks plus analyzing character and plot development, narrative flow, shifts in point of view, and organizational structure.
3. What role should the editor play in the writing process?
An editor assists the writer in making the book the best it can possibly be. A great working relationship between an author and editor is critical to the success of a book. A good editor will not change a writer’s voice, style or story. Instead, the editor offers a fresh, experienced perspective and respects the author’s work. All edits must be approved by the author.
4. For each editing project you take on, what is your overriding goal? In other words, what do you have in mind each time you look at a new manuscript or other writing?
My goal is to help authors achieve their goals. Whenever I review a manuscript, I am always looking for ways to improve its marketability. Errors and inconsistencies distract a reader, and the book could lose credibility. If a reader loses interest, he/she will not recommend the book to friends and will not purchase subsequent books by the same author.
5. What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about authors—independent or traditional—through your editing?
It is a tough sell to convince authors that their “baby” can be improved and that I’m not the enemy. The money invested in creating a professionally edited book will reap returns for the life of the book. My sample edits usually convince authors that I am working for them—the changes enhance the book and create a professionally-polished product that still reflects their voice and vision.
6. How much work do you do with indie authors?
The majority of my clients are indie authors. I enjoy reading new books from a variety of authors. Editing is my passion and comes naturally to me. I have always been an avid reader and love books. Belonging to two book clubs helps me in my work. Whenever I read, I edit. I also have a network of colleagues (graphic designers, e-book formatters, photo restorers, and indexers) for those indie authors requiring assistance after editing.
7. Focusing only on indie writers, what advice do you have for them to make their writing the best it can be?
Indie writers do not have the assistance and benefit of multiple editors employed in a traditional publishing house. Do as much self-editing as possible. Take an online course on writing and editing. Join a critique group. Always get your book professionally edited and shop around. Editing fees vary. Compare sample edits and choose the editor who understands your work and your goals.
8. What are some common mistakes that self-published authors can and should avoid in their efforts?
Most self-publishing authors do not realize that publishing a book is a business. It requires time, money and effort to publish a book that is marketable. It is not enough just to write a book. A self-published author should assemble a team of professionals to assist in the publication process for those areas unfamiliar to the author.
9. Many writers get their friends or family to edit their work. How are you different?
Having friends and family proofread a book is a great way to get a free review. However, they often are not looking at the book objectively. They get caught up in reading a book written by someone they know. I attend editing classes yearly to stay current on the editing industry and to keep my skills sharp. I am a perfectionist—detail-oriented and grammar-obsessed. I attend webinars and seminars on the ever-changing publishing industry to help my clients develop a marketing platform that is effective for them.
10. How can writers get in touch with you?
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My website, magnificomanuscripts.com, contains links to my LinkedIn profile as well as my business Facebook page.