Nicole Ayers, of Ayers Edits, is a freelance editor. While she’s held many jobs in her life, including stints as a Peanut Shack employee, server, camp counselor, telemarketer, print shop lackey, bartender, and teacher, editing is her favorite because she can combine her love of reading with the fun of wordplay. When she’s not marking up manuscripts and reading books, she’s chasing the little people in her life, snuggling with her dog, or seeking new adventures with her husband. Sometimes you’ll even catch her at a yoga class.
How many writers have you worked with through Writer.ly?
Nicole: It’s been a privilege to work with eleven writers since I joined Writer.ly a year ago.
When should a writer hire a freelance editor?
Nicole: Writers should hire a developmental editor when they have a complete manuscript. After revising the story several times, the writer will be fresh out of ways to improve the work. At this point, a developmental editor will offer a new set of eyes and an unbiased opinion. After working through developmental edits, the writer will feel that the manuscript is finished. This is the time to bring in a copyeditor. Developmental edits complete, check. Copyedits complete, check. Ready to publish? No. Hiring a proofreader to review the manuscript for typos and basic errors just before a writer submits the manuscript is the best bet.
Nicole: Every editor has a personal style, but communication and transparency are essential to the writer-editor relationship. Whether big picture edits or grammar details, editors should show their work with Track Changes. They should use comments to make suggestions and ask questions. They should also provide editorial summaries or style sheets and be available to answer questions and clarify areas of confusion once edits have been returned. Most importantly, writers can expect editors to provide suggestions and solutions that improve the writing.
How is working with first time writers different from published writers?
Nicole: Veteran authors who have been through the editing process a few times trust that I have their best interests at heart. They know I’m going to maintain their voice and that I won’t make arbitrary suggestions based on my personal preferences. They also understand that I’m not judging their efforts, not assigning grades. I’m there to help and encourage them. First-time writers ask more questions, both before and after edits have been returned, and I’m happy to answer them. It’s my pleasure to be a guide in someone’s writing journey.
Do you offer sample edits to Writer.ly clients?
Nicole: I always offer sample edits to Writer.ly clients. Writers take a risk when choosing an editor, not only with their money but with their heart, the finished manuscript. Bidding on an editing job is like a blind date. Samples allow us to decide if we want to take the next step in the relationship. Writers experience my work and my personality, and I learn valuable information, such as how much time I need to budget for the project.
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