As first reader of manuscripts for a scholarly journal I am amazed at submissions with grammatical errors, abstracts that leave the reader stumbling over words, and lack of adherence to author’s guidelines.  The effort of providing four manuscripts to forward to reviewers is often thwarted with an email explaining what areas need to be addressed before the process can be moved forward.

While some leave editing to chance, others, such as those with multilingual challenges, hire a freelance editor to ensure a manuscript flows for the prescribed audience.

Whether writing a novel or nonfiction authors are wise to have their work proofread and line-edited by an experienced professional.  Exchanging electronic files mirrors the process of online instruction as I provide in interpersonal communication classes that I have taught the past four years.  Feedback through email or track “track changes” alerts students/authors to weaknesses in a manuscript.  Thus evolves an interactive writing workshop.

Always ask for references when hiring a freelance editor in anticipation of  your online workshop.  Make sure the freelance editor is familiar with your genre and can meet your deadline.   Don’t hire someone who will “fix” your grammar when you intended to relay the dialect of the period or region.  If you have appropriately determined your reader (mass market, regional, textbook, etc.), an effective freelance editor can answer your question, “Am I reaching my target audience?”

Rewrite where necessary – and it is always necessary.  Constantly honing our craft is what makes us good writers.   How many good writers will get everything out in their first chapter or their first draft, then pause for years before rewriting with “aha” clarity?

Providing editing services for retired corporate executives, physicians, marketers, and academicians is proof that authors of all types benefit from an advocate.   Work with a sincere encourager.  Don’t hesitate to make a change if you feel that you are not growing through an editing experience.

Though my communication skills have earned me solid teaching positions new standards of accreditation dictate that it is time for me to return to online graduate classes.  I trust there will be many encouragers from whom I can learn and continue life-long learning.  I hope to meet you in the online community or a private online workshop.

Evelyn Asher , The Managing Editor, has self-published a caregiver anthology “A Bridge of Hope” and is currently co-authoring a gerontology textbook, Conversations: Effective Communication with the Elderly and a memoir entitled “A Tapestry of Global Friendships” due in 2011.   She can be reached at evelynasher@charter.net