is an expert editor who
proudly helps speakers
and authors change the
world with their well-
crafted words. Over 24
years, she has placed
more than 350 books
(and counting) on her editor’s “trophy shelf.”
She is also the creator of Word Trippers Tips, a
resource for better writing. A presenter at NSA
and CAPS events, she has been part of NSA
since 1996. Visit her at BarbaraMcNichol.com.
by a tight copyedit to find those pesky grammar
gremlins and wording errors before readers do.
After you make changes, your editor reviews
everything, does a final proofread, and keeps
your project moving.
Then at the end of the process, you can
declare with confidence, “My writing sounds
just like me—only better!” (As an editor, that’s
what I desire for my clients.)
CHOOSING AN EDITOR
For books, the magic of selecting the right editor lies in the “sample edit”—a complimentary
edit of your work from your manuscript. Sure,
you get value from seeing the before and after
of someone else’s project, but don’t skip this
step. Request samples from all contenders.
That’s how you come close to comparing
apples to apples.
I call the sample edit “magic” because you
get to see:
The level of editing required.
How clearly your message can be expressed.
If the edits changed your voice—a huge
concern for authors.
And it does something else. The sample
edit helps determine your project’s place on the
editing spectrum. Does it require proofreading,
copyediting, or a complete rewrite? Along with
word count, that determines an editor’s customized fee, communicated in writing up front.
In your selection process, be sure to
examine prospective editors’ credentials.
Study their websites and peruse their portfolios. Testimonials are great, but also ask for
references so you can pose questions to their
clients related to your needs.
In short, don’t miss the opportunity to
deliver your best writing. After all, it’s you,
your voice, your contribution to the world.
Make sure your message comes across clear
and strong. It’s that important! ■ TRICKS OF THE EDITING TRADE
ENLIVEN YOUR TEXT
Use active (not
AC TIVE: “The boy
chomped into the
watermelon.” The verb
“chomped” is active.
eaten by the boy.” The
word “by” is a clue
that it’s passive.
“I really think it’s
time to go.”
(“It’s time to go.”)
“Due to the fact that”
“There are m[M]any
experts that believe
KEEP IT SIMPLE
One idea per
One distinct point
No more than 21
words in a sentence
Use the correct
word to say
what you mean
The word “that” doesn’t substitute
for “who” when referring to a
person. You’d refer to someone who
speaks, not someone that speaks.
Even with excellent writers,
editors often encounter misused
words: browse vs. peruse,
compliment vs. complement, advice
vs. advise. You’ll find practical
resources for choosing the right word
fast at Word Trippers.com.