Getting your writing work out there might not be as straightforward as you hope. Follow these 5 editing secrets an editor won’t tell you (but probably should), and you will have a better chance of getting your work approved and published.
Here are some of the most basic guidelines you should pay attention to when writing to deliver a more polished product. It will also help you save on editing costs when you hire a freelance editor to revise your work.
Editing Secret to Becoming a Respected Author: Pay attention to “readability“
There is nothing worse than long-winding and excessive use of words to get the message across. Stick to the topic and stay on point.
If you overuse industry jargon or hifalutin words in an article that should be understandable to anyone, you risk readers clicking close on the piece before you have made your point.
Select your words and phrases based on the article’s target audience. If you’re writing a scientific piece for a popular journal, that would be a great place to show off your scientific vocabulary.
Another example: an article for a woman’s magazine should be in a lighter and more conversational tone than, say a piece geared towards tech-savvy individuals from silicon valley.
Editing secret #1: Follow the editorial guidelines (if you’re writing for a client)
Clients and/or publishers typically issue specific guidelines on the format of the writing they expect from their writers. If they requested a specific font and size, stick to it. If they clearly indicate the number of sentences in a paragraph, follow their guidelines.
Breaking the rules as you please might result in your article being rejected. A disregard for instruction shows a lack of professionalism and inability to follow instructions.
#2 – Double-check everything before you submit it
Always grammar and spell check before you submit the deliverables to the client or publisher – that’s a pretty obvious editing secret. Here are some tips from our checklist, which is supplied to our interns:
- word use
- consistency (language, facts, tenses)
- font type and size
Don’t send in sloppy work or a draft and assume the editor will correct it for you. That won’t happen as there’s no time. Do the job you’re paid to do.
#3 – Fact check and citations
The internet is full of misinformation these days. It’s hard to tell fact from fiction. Let’s take responsibility for ethical internet use by agreeing to only publish legitimate (to our knowledge) information.
When stating facts, you need to verify the information from more than one source before you mention it in your article.
There are hundreds of unverified websites all over the internet – ranging from clickbait to political misinformation (watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix to understand).
When using information researched via the internet, ensure that it comes from a reliable source. Many have fallen into the trap by using information that was written for pure sensation and clickbait.
The same principle goes for citations. Referring to anything related to studies shown is vague. Mention the source!
#4 Pay attention to potential copyright violations
Never copy work from another author or artist and claim it as your own. If you use anything written or add a photographed by someone else in your article, give credit to the original author and/or photographer.
Ensure you have the necessary authorization to use it within your content. Don’t assume that just because something is on the internet, it is freely available for anyone to use.
Using copyrighted items leaves the door open not only to a big embarrassment to you as a writer, but also the publisher, magazine, client, or website owner. Copyright infringement can also lead to potential lawsuits.
Follow these editing secrets to improve professionalism and future work.
These are some of the top editing secrets your editor won’t tell you. Using these tips not only makes you appear more professional, but it also makes the work for an editor just a little easier.
There you have it!
5 editing secrets your editor won’t tell you – except, we now did!