Editors Bring Fresh Eyes

From time to time I perform editing tasks for a professor at a major university here in Florida. The recipient of many environmental education grants, she understands the various stages of bringing a work to publication, especially works that involve more than one person. In addition to having the foresight to bring an editor into the mix, she also takes an active role in the process and is not hesitant to review works and/or ask her graduate students to review works in detail–more than once—before committing them to publication.

This is certainly more than can be said for major publishing houses, even educational publishers and university presses, that in the current economic crunch and tremendous changes in the nature of publishing have found the need to cut corners on everything from editing and proofreading to indexing and book promotion.

The result of these austerity measures is felt by the readers who puzzle over passages and must put up with inconsistent style and sloppy grammar. As an editor, I am much less concerned about making sure that a writer follows every arcane detail of English grammar than I am about being sure that the intent of the content is fully accessible to the reader. If your point is lost in a morass of verbiage, your efforts at conveying information to a reader are useless.

This professor recognizes that the time and effort put in by her staff and graduate students should be honored by being sure that the information is readable and understandable. She realistically understands that often those closest to the work know the material too well to objectively determine readability.

If nothing else, an editor brings a fresh set of eyes to a project. And along with this new perspective, you also benefit from the experience and expertise of someone whose background and focus is working with words and how they convey meaning. In addition, you show respect to your reader when you do them the service of presenting understandable and well-edited text.

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