Editor Explains: Dhivya Balaji #WritingResourcesByIndy

Editing is a vast area of work with unlimited variations. Luckily for the authors, writers, and readers so do the editors.

On the blog, today is an editor I have known for a few years now and have always enjoyed the work Dhivya does.

The journey of an editor is layered with constant learning at every step. Those who think they have learned enough, stop growing and progressing.

This series is an effort to share the wisdom of years of experience for all my readers.

I am excited to welcome Dhivya to Eloquent Articulation as she shares her editing stories with us.

Contains Amazon Affiliate Links, I Earn From Qualifying Purchases.

Q1. What pulled you into the field of editing?

My love for the English language. Everything else was secondary. I have been an avid reader since the age of 10 and used to spend my high school days correcting mistakes in my friends’ essays and poems. I think, in a way, it led to me becoming a full-time editor.

Later on, I became a professional reviewer, and one of the authors I had reviewed, from the US, asked me if I would like to edit her work. I agreed, mainly for the challenge and thrill, and soon after it, another author from the UK contacted me and I beta read her work. With two projects coming back to back, it took me some more time to think of editing as a full-fledged career but once I began, there was no looking back. I am now well into this with 50+ books to my name, and hopefully, this would grow into bigger, better avenues soon.

Q2. What levels of editing do you offer?

Primarily, I focus on developmental editing. I believe that each editor has a particular style, and having multiple people look over a manuscript affects its pace and styling. So I prefer to work solo and suggest a complete developmental edit for authors because it takes a raw manuscript and makes it publishing-worthy, over multiple phases of edits and changes.

But based on the authors’ requirements I also offer other services like copy-editing and proofreading.

Recently, I began my venture called Precis Penning Literary Services, and via that, I am providing end-to-end services including cover designs, pagination, typesetting, promotional media designing and also creating book trailers.

Q3. Tell us about your typical workday?

Working from home has given me a lot of flexibility, and I plan my workday according to the amount of work I have. Despite the hours varying, I usually dedicate a minimum of 8-9 hours a day for this, because I believe in being thorough and meticulous. Each book is unique in its needs and my approach also varies accordingly. But I prefer the silent early morning or late night hours to help me with my concentration.

Q4. Editors are usually voracious readers and booklovers. Are you a one or multi-book reader? What are you reading right now?

Yes, I am a voracious reader too. And I juggle between books, of course. Usually, I try to read a work of fiction and non-fiction together. The former is from my personal shelf, of genres I love to choose from, and the latter mostly is something informative regarding my craft. But with review copies also vying for my attention, I find it hard to stick to this rule. I love the books my fellow authors come up with and find them both instructive and interesting.

Right now, I am having three books open, technically speaking. The Brahmin by Ravi Shankar Etteth (which came recommended by two of my fellow book buddies), 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari (I am a fan of this author), and Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (which is turning out to be my favourite)

Q5. How do you sustain interest in even the most mundane aspects of editing – proofreading, fact-checking, source-checking, etc?

I do find them as hard as every editor would, and due to my policy of not distracting myself with other books when I am intensely working on editing a book, my focus does dwindle during these phases. But I have found two tricks that personally work for me.

I usually read the manuscripts that come to me first as books on my mobile (to prevent the temptation to make changes as I am reading) and this helps me spot the areas to be fact-checked beforehand. I highlight them and write them down separately, even the silliest of doubts, and get back to them when I am editing.

For source-checking I work with the author and record my doubts in-line, to be resolved or clarified by the author. I have a hands-on approach and usually text authors for clarification as and when I need to verify the source.

Proofreading, though, is something I love and I internalise the debates about word usage, marvelling at the beauty of English, and googling when confusion arises.


Q6. Share about your most confounding editing assignment to date. How it affected you as an editor?

I have had my share of some wonderful books, and then there are some remarkable experiences. My personal favourite for ‘confounding’ though, is an assignment where I dealt with a historical/political thriller based in the US, focusing on the Presidential Race in the present timeline and the history of ‘similar’ events in the past. Over the course of the two years that I worked on the 150,000-word manuscript, I had quite a handful of disagreements with the author, reading more and more books to learn about the country and political process, both of which were completely unfamiliar.

Some of those debates were never resolved, and the consternation affected the smooth completion of the project. It taught me a lot of patience, and it also helped me understand that authors might be quite attached to their work and they may not be able to separate themselves from it and correct mistakes despite paying an editor to find them.

Q7. Please share one pro-tip for your writers? What advice would you give writers trying to pitch stories to your publication?

Always write only what you want to. If your heart is not in it, the output is always adversely affected. Learn to write a synopsis that would interest readers. If you cannot shorten the highlights of your story to write an engaging synopsis, you should take another look at your manuscript and tighten it.

Q8. Where can writers reach you for editing queries?

Writers can reach out to me in the following ways.

Email – [email protected]
Phone – 9840298851
Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/DhivyaBalajiEditor/
Precis Penning Literary Services

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Dhivya is the author of the collection of stories called Aspen Leaves It is a collection of ten stories.

“Ten colors. Ten stories. Ten tangents.
Hundreds of interpretations.
Thousands of memories.
A million emotions.”

Thank you Dhivya for joining me, I wish you all the best for your future endeavors.

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