Welcome to Shining the Spotlight. We have decided to resurrect this series of interviews with writers, editors and publishers. Today we have Elizabeth Prybylski, an editor with E. Harvey Editing Services, Editor-in-chief of Eat Sleep Write and contributor to Damn Faeries published by Divertir Publishing.
Please take a seat and prepare yourself. 🙂
First tell me a little bit about yourself.
A woman who likes video games…That’s not a rare as some would think these days. What’s rare is…the sword stuff. Tell me about your studies of the Japanese Sword?
Is it Iaido? The art of the Japanese Sword?
Tell me a little about what it’s like being an editor?
It’s largely like being a teacher. While I go through and repair mistakes a lot of what I try and do is teach writers. The best way to help prevent future mistakes is to help them understand what they did.
I really enjoy what I do and find it very fulfilling. There are times when I want to pull my hair out, but that’s just part of the job.
How do you decide who you take on? Or is it more of the author deciding which editor to hire?
It’s a combination shot. If someone sends me a manuscript that I really can’t help – like it’s a ESL client whose language needs a lot of work – then I will tell them. I won’t take just anyone’s money; that just seems dishonest. If I don’t believe the author is ready for an editor I will say no.
However, generally speaking it’s the author coming to me and asking me for help. Typically it’s through email, facebook messages, LinkedIn messages… any of my social media accounts.
How long have you been editing professionally and what kind of studies did you have to undergo?
I have been editing since late 2010 or early 2011. I didn’t so much get to study as I was hurled into the deep end with a copy of Strunk and White.
What happened was I was a karaoke host at the time, and one of my customers happened to be a gentleman by the name of Dr. Kenneth Tupper who owns Divertir Publishing. He and I got to talking and I wound up working for his small press. It was one of those “right time, right people, right place” sort of situations.
I learned to edit through his mentoring and through a great deal of reading and studying on my own. I took a number of English courses in college, but my degree in European history helped as well since I did a great deal of writing for that, too.
I understand that there’s different types of editing. Can you explain what they are please?
There are many different ways people categorizing “editing”. I usually break it down into three categories: copy editing, line editing (aka substantive editing), and developmental editing.
Copy editing is the least intensive, generally speaking. It focuses on the grammar, formatting, and technical aspects of the writing. It doesn’t really touch things like adverbs or over-use of adjectives. That said, if I’m copy editing and I see something like that I do mention it.
The middle grade is line editing where the editor looks at things like word choice, sentence structure, and things like that. It typically focuses on words rather than on punctuation and grammar. Though, of course, if there are serious problems I do address those.
Developmental editing gets down to the bones of the story. If the manuscript has huge plot holes, flat character development and other major problems beyond the purview of the words and punctuation it falls into this category. While I will point these things out to authors if they’re struggling I don’t typically take it on myself to close them unless I’m paid for that extra step. It can be a great deal of work and can turn into ghostwriting if the problems are substantial enough.
To identify the term, though it isn’t editing, ghostwriting is writing an author’s manuscript for them.
Do you do any ghostwriting?
I’m sort of doing some for one of my clients. He is writing a book on financial planning and while he’s an excellent accountant and engineer he isn’t really a writer. I’ve been having to tear apart and reorganize his manuscript for about six months now.
He also knows that writing isn’t his strong point, by the way, so I don’t think he’d be upset with me for saying so.
I assume that all these different editing services have different price points?
What’s the cost of the cheapest per word?
Based on a 65,000 word book, my average price for copyediting is $750 and my price for line editing is around $1,500. I don’t have a standard for developmental because that will fluctuate wildly depending on the needs of the manuscript.
A lot of authors specialize in a particular genre. Do editors also do that?
Generally speaking editors will probably be best at editing the genres they enjoy reading. Naturally, I prefer fantasy of all flavors, mystery, thrillers, romances… I am a pretty diverse reader, so I am willing to work on almost anything.
What are the best three novels that you’ve ever read?
So all in the fantasy genres?
I will look out for that one. You are also an author so tell me a bit about what you write about?
How do you fit it all in? I mean editing, blogging and writing…
Some authors have concerns that editors might affect their ‘voice’, how you address these concerns?
Thank you Elizabeth.
You can check her out on:
Editing: E Harvey Editing Services
Follow her Twitter: @EHPrybylski