I hope you’ll excuse a little rant for a moment. I wrote it months ago–as in, it’s not about the book I’m currently editing, for all those worryworts out there.
Writers, please learn the very basics of your craft.
I so appreciate the authors who strive to improve with every book, who incorporate what they learned from edits in Book 1 into Book 2, authors who seek to learn more–from workshops, further reading within the genre, informal info from other writers, etc–and then apply that knowledge. It not only makes my job easier, but I feel that you’re as invested in your career as I am. And that in turn makes me want to do more for you.
On the flip side, I find it incredibly frustrating when I still repeatedly have to correct such basic things as dialogue punctuation, capitalization, plural vs. possessive, and other fundamental grammar on Book 4. It gets very tedious and becomes distracting from big-picture editing like plot structure and character development–which should be my main focus so I can help bring out the best book possible.
There was recently a post at DearAuthor that now of course I can’t find, talking about how some editors have become strictly focused on acquisitions and they don’t do much line editing at all, and therefore more than ever authors need to have an absolutely clean manuscript. I do still line edit, and I’m happy to clean up typos here and there. The more I catch, the more the copyeditor will be able to focus on other things (do ages match up, eye color stay consistent, etc.). And it’s also true that I’m not expecting everything to be who-vs-whom grammar perfect; sometimes there’s no faster way to kill an author’s voice.
But I need the author to be invested too. Having a contract does not suddenly make you immune to knowing the very basic craft of writing. Please, review your edits and learn from them.