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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication? Learn more.
Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,875 editors.
Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
A: A line edit for author approval can be substantive if required.
A: There is basic proofreading and we notify the author about potential typos. When creating drafts, we attempt to replicate how the piece appears exactly. If it can not be replicated exactly, we notify the author for their approval of how it will appear when published.
A: We do basic proofreading. We aren't here to help you develop your writing. It should be in its final draft before it's submitted to us. We will only correct grammatical errors and let the writer know before doing so.
A: Very light editing, spelling, and formatting. If the piece appears to be worthy of publishing but has been poorly edited or not proofread it is sent back asking for resubmission after it has been re-edited.
A: Depends on the quality of the piece. Some get light editing, mostly for style and punctuation and grammar. Some require the writer to answer questions before I can edit, which may require the writer to send a revised story. I always send edited article to writer for signoff a day or so before publishing to ensure accuracy.
A: With poetry, I'd estimate that we ask for small copy or line edits for about 30 percent of the pieces we publish. We ask the author's approval if we'd like to shift a line break or cut a word, but we ask with the understanding that we'll publish the poem even if they choose not to make the change. Our fiction editor spends more time collaborating with authors to edit prose pieces. We send each contributor a PDF of the final web version to approve before it goes live.
A: How much editing I provide depends on the caliber of writing. (That’s why I prefer to work with writers who have solid writing skills but not necessarily the publication credits.)
During the editing process, I may:
- Move sections of text to provide a more logical, cohesive flow
- Rewrite minor sections as needed to improve clarity or flow
- Remove any typos
- Make sure language is clear, concise, and free of jargon
- Remove unnecessary information
- Ensure content and formatting is web-ready
The author may provide feedback on my edits for my consideration.
A: Most of the time I make only minor edits - corrections to spelling, punctuation and grammar, or changes to fit the text with house style. If I think more substantive changes might be helpful, I'll consult the author about making these. Of course, proofs are sent out before publication, but by that stage the text has been reviewed so many times that last minute corrections are pretty rare.
A: We prefer pieces that are ready for showtime. However, if we believe in a piece or feel it has good bones, we have in the past asked for edits or slight revisions. That doesn't necessarily guarantee a writer a "yes" but it has often paid off for us and for the writer. If a piece misses the mark but we liked some aspect or feel something could be improved, we try to share that information. Time doesn't always allow for that, but as writers ourselves, we appreciate when an editor takes the time to do that when it's our turn to submit work.
A: The author should send error-free work. There are occasions where the story is so good that I will provide substantive editing. All contributors do get to proof their work before we publish.
A: We/I do careful copy editing and line editing, but rarely does it amount to much at all. If a manuscript needs a lot of editing we'll pass on it as I/we simply don't have time for extensive edits. Of course author always approves of final edits.
A: We will provide more editing services in the future, but it has only been a few instances so far. I prefer to publish works that have gone through the editing process prior or do not need it at all.