“When traveling to Strasbourg you must go to the bathroom. The toilet paper is purple. Not just any purple…but a lovely shade of lavender. I really wanted to bring some of this home with me to show my friends, but I thought that might not be appropriate. I didn’t try out any other bathrooms in the city but will the next time I go there.”
If you were a magazine editor would you read any further than this? Probably not. I know I wouldn’t.
Being a freelance copy editor for all sorts of writers, this is a real example of one I received from an aspiring travel writer. Hopefully she has abandoned that career by now.
As a writer you think editing your own work is easy, right? After all, you have spell check and grammar check and all that at your fingertips. Plus if you are writing a travel piece, who knows this place better than you?
If you aren’t getting the results you desire, perhaps you should think about working with a real copy editor prior to submitting your work to the publication. Copy editors can do more for your writing than you may think. A reputable copy editor will give you constructive feedback on the flow of the article, whether you have enough action verbs to “show” your reader how he fits into the picture, or if your article will jump start the reader into action.
Sometimes all an article needs is to rearrange a couple of paragraphs. Maybe the copy editor will get you to think differently about your “story”. Working with a good editor you should be able to learn how you can turn your one article in to several different ones, thus creating more income from one basic article.
If this is something you are considering, here are a few things to ask yourself:
1. What do I want to gain from this arrangement?
2. Am I open to suggestions?
3. Will I listen and learn from the feedback?
4. Am I prepared to pay for this service?
Now questions for the editor:
1. How long have you been working as a copy editor?
2. What is your charge?
3. Is the charge per article or per hour? Some editors will give you two or three “sessions” per article.
4. How do I pay you? (PayPal or etc.)
5. What kind of turn around time do you provide? What if I need a “rush job”? Is that extra?
Good luck…writing and working with a copy editor. I think you’ll be happy in the long run.