USA Today bestselling author L. j. Charles, author of the Everly Gray series and other wonderful books, became my second client when I made Demon for Details “official.” This was her reply when I asked her advice about how to explain what I do:
“Your first read-through is a high-level view of the manuscript, a global approach to plot and rhythm. During this stage you note any plot holes, any discrepancies in character development, and any pacing issues.
“During the second stage of your editing process, you shift your focus to detailed editing of sentence structure, punctuation, and grammar issues.
“In the third stage of your process [Note: my fees include a second detailed edit at no extra charge], you shift back to a more global view to take a final look at the story in its entirety, and to pick up any missed details.
“One of the most important things you do is ‘rest’ between each of these phases of editing to clear your mind, and to let the story settle before moving on to the next phase of editing. [Note: this explains why my turnaround times are longer than many of my peers’]
“The other gift you have as an editor is flexibility. You’re able to flow with how your authors work. We don’t all approach writing in the same way, and you’re able to respect that and give us the space we need to create.
“And you honor the story, which is completely separate from the author. In that final read-through, you approach the story from the reader’s perspective. I think this is critical to the success of a novel.”
Thanks again, L. j.! You’re the best.