Last week I wrote about every editor’s nightmare. So, this week let’s go more positive.
Being a freelance editor has its frustrations and limitations, but there are also joys. There is nothing quite so satisfying as knowing that a good job has been done and another author’s dream has been brought out into the world. You may not enjoy every job, but just knowing that you’ve helped someone is a great feeling, and there are certain clients that really do make the process a wonderful experience.
These are every editor’s dream:
The client who understands that this is your profession. They understand that you know your job, you have been trained and you are not there to rip their writing to pieces. They hire to you help them, it’s a big exercise in trust, and we understand that.
The client who doesn’t take things personally. While we try our utmost to be gentle, editing is by its very nature a way of looking critically at a piece of writing and helping to make it better. The dream client understands this and can look at their writing with a certain detachment.
The client who trusts us. They hire an editor to edit, to look at the work over which they have shed blood, sweat and tears (ok, probably less of the first and more of the last), and to do what is best for the writing. They know that we suggest changes for a reason, and trust us with that.
The client who knows what they want. When someone has an idea about what level of editing or proofreading they want it can make for a great working relationship. Knowing the difference between types of editing can be a godsend when time is tight.
The client who knows what they need. Not quite the same as the client above, a client may think they need a light proofread, when really they need a full-on heavy edit. Clients who know what they need can save valuable time … they know that they’re not quite there and need an edit, they know they may have plot holes and need a critique, or they know they are as near to perfect as they can get after multiple rounds of editing and just need that final proofread.
The client who has a style sheet. This perhaps seems a little strange, but the client who has written down the style and spelling choices they made, and why, can make an editor’s life so much easier. This means we can concentrate on the nitty gritty of the editing, rather than make choices for consistency as we go.
The client who pays on time. A dream client understands that this is our living, and we have bills to pay. The client who pays in a timely fashion makes our lives that much more enjoyable.
The client who has time. It is lovely to have a client who doesn’t want things done yesterday, but gives us enough time to work at a decent pace and not have to rush things through. A more leisurely pace makes for a happier editorial professional.
The client who offers testimonials. It’s a small thing, but the client who offers a testimonial always puts a smile of the face of a freelance. Especially when the editor feels uncomfortable asking for one (well we are human after all, and if you are English you have an extra awkwardness factor built in).
The client who offers repeat business. When a dream client also offers you repeat business it’s lovely. Really, it is.
So there we have ten clients who will make a freelance smile, often you will get clients who tick some of the boxes, rarely they tick all, but if you get one client with all those attributes… well, if it ever happens I’ll let you know once I’ve stopped smiling.