Once your ghostwriter has handed in the completed project, it is your turn to go to work. You get the fulfilling job of editing their work. Here is where the rubber meets the road.
Before we go any further, first things first. If you are not the kind of person who has a head for grammar and the like, it would be a wise idea to have a proofreader/editor on your payroll. They can be added to Basecamp just like the writers. Giving them access to each project allows them to go ahead and do their thing right away. They can forward the finished product on to you for final approval.
For the rest of us who have at least written content before, here are a couple of tips if you want to give editing the old college try.
1. Provide your ghostwriter with a set of guidelines for your content.This will make like easier for you in the long run. include information like: formatting requirements (spacing, font, and etc.), grammar rules to follow (such as AP Stylebook) and what type of document to use for delivery (Word, plain text).
2. Ask them to do a self-edit first.It usually goes without saying for professional writers, but you will get some newbies. Don’t be afraid to offer them a chance because everyone needs someplace to begin. Simply using spell checker eliminates most of the simple grammatical errors that will drive you crazy.
Beyond the basics of grammar, there are other editing errors that can become a point of contention if you let it. Remember that this is a business relationship and one thing that keeps businesses strong is communication.
Here are a few issues that would need to be addressed right away:
- The “voice” is not being captured consistently
- No command of the subject matter
- Unfocused content
- Client instructions not being followed to the letter
Each of these situations is even more important than the grammar piece. You can use spell checker if you have to, but to correct the above examples, you’d have to rewrite the content and that is what you are paying the ghostwriter to do.
Solutions at Hand
You didn’t think I would leave you holding this hornet’s nest did you? There are ways to handle each one, but you will need a professional attitude to do so.
1. Whenever you assign a project, have the ghostwriter turn the work in three to four days before the due date. This allows time for them to revise their work if they need to without blowing your deadlines.
2. Tell the writer specifically what is wrong with their work. They are professionals and they can take it. If they didn’t follow directions, tell them that and ask that they reread the information.
3. Ask clients for samples that demonstrate what they want. Samples are guidelines that you can pass on to the writers. Most clients will be happy to help if it means getting their work done correctly the first time.
Editing is necessary if you want your clients to receive the clean, composed work that you desire to be known for. To that end, addressing editing issues with your ghostwriter in the beginning, makes the job easier for you.