It’s An Editing Thing Presents: An Interview with Kimberly Hunt, editor
Editor’s Bio: Kimberly Hunt is a freelance developmental editor with Revision Division, specializing in Romance. While she serves independent authors of Romance, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, and Psychological Thrillers, she also edits creative nonfiction and memoir for publishers. She’s happy to answer questions about writing and editing, but beware, as she can go on at length about her passions: reading, running, and volunteering.
In addition to her experience as a developmental editor, she has certifications in copyediting and project management. All of which enable her to deliver edits ahead of schedule and under budget. Have a look around Revision Division’s website and let Kimberly know if she’s a good fit for you, your book, and your budget.
Deliah Lawrence: What are the different types of editors?
Kimberly Hunt: In order to explain the different types of editing, I’d like to tell a story about my journey as an editor. Knowing my story isn’t important, but knowing the different types of editing is critical for evaluating what you need and which editor may be able to help you best. For many years, I was a beta reader and I continue to provide this service between editing projects. When I beta read, it’s less about how the story is crafted and more about how it’s received by a reader. For beta reading, I send simple notes in an email about what I observed while reading. My beta reading clients do get superb value since I can’t completely turn off my editing skills, but they get a list of problems without any ideas for how to solve those problems.
Early in my career, a friend of the family sought out my help. His story was amazing, but I couldn’t get past the number of errors, and this was my initial inspiration to look into copyediting. I found a natural ability to spot the punctuation, usage, grammar and spelling errors lent itself well to this type of work. My educational courses introduced trusted resources to references like the Merriam-Webster dictionary and the Chicago Manual of Style. And working with publishers taught me how to create and maintain a style sheet for consistency per book, which is critical when writing a series.
Still at the detailed level but a bit more of an art, is line editing. This looks at each line at the sentence and paragraph level for improved flow and better transitions. I tread carefully when line editing to make sure I’m respecting the author’s voice while keeping concision and clarity a priority. The more advanced courses I took revealed my true passion was earlier in the process, with developmental editing. I love assessing the big picture elements that truly make or break a good book (structure, plot, pace, POV, and character development). Not only do I identify problem areas and make comments directly in the manuscript, but I provide suggested solutions and discuss the global edits needed in a revision letter.
There’s great value not just for one book, but for your entire writing career, in working with a developmental editor. I have one author that reserves my time for this service every time she writes in a different genre. Then for each book in her series we skip to a manuscript evaluation which still looks at these big picture elements but doesn’t have the in-manuscript suggestions. Perfect for seasoned authors.
I’ll briefly mention proofreading—which is not editing. It used to be a comparison between the edited manuscript and the printed proof. I do very little of it, but occasionally I’m asked to be that last set of eyes before publication to catch typographical errors. This should be done after formatting your manuscript and the goal is to change as little as possible—meaning only indisputable errors.
DL: What sets one editor apart from another?
KH: Given that qualifications, experience, and rates are equal between two editors, I’d say the differentiating factor comes down to fit. I’ve lost a project to another editor who shared an obscure hobby with the author. I’ve politely turned down projects when I perceived low author-editor compatibility. If I were an author, besides qualifications, experience, rates, and fit, an editor who acts like a professional and provides diplomatic feedback in a timely manner would be my requirement.
DL: What qualities make a good editor?
KH: If I were an author, I’d look for an editor who returns my email or phone call promptly. I’d expect their certifications, qualifications, and memberships to professional organizations to be listed on their website. Yes, it’s important that an editor’s rates are within an author’s budget, but be careful not to select on cost alone. Look for an established process for getting started (contracts make expectations clear!) and for sharing files and seeing revisions. Good editors explain suggestions objectively, citing references to help educate, and encourage authors with positive feedback as well.
DL: Is there any particular genre you prefer to work with?
KH: 100% Romance. Steamy contemporary romance is my favorite. I love the enemies to lovers, grumpy/sunshine, and fake relationship tropes. I have experience with all heat levels, some historical romance and romantic suspense in addition to the many rom-coms and contemporary romances I’ve edited.
DL: What can writers expect when they work with you?
KH: Diplomacy. Quality. Professionalism. Affordability. I aim to provide valuable feedback through constructive criticism AND praise. By me pointing out strengths or showing where something works well, authors learn and grow. I provide exceptional quality by going over a manuscript multiple times. I have invested in my education as well as programs and resources.
As a professional editor, I take responsive communication seriously and appreciate clear expectation setting. I quote projects conservatively so that I may deliver ahead of schedule and under budget. Finally, I value affordability. I’m a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) and set my rates within their range based on my years of experience. This all sounds a bit stuffy, so please know that I can be fun too! I have fun references if needed. 😊
DL: Who is your ideal client?
KH: I have given this a great deal of thought over the years. To ensure I’m filling my days with positive interactions and work that I love, I foster long-term author-editor relationships with clients who treat writing, editing, and publishing as a career. I like to work with professionals who value my time and expertise. My clients include new writers, seasoned independent authors, and a few small publishers. A handful of my clients have gone on to secure agents and publishing contracts.
DL: What is one of the most challenging projects you have worked on?
KH: The most challenging projects for me are the ones where an author is not interested in putting in the work. I treat each project as a chance to educate, taking the time to explain why I’m making corrections or suggesting changes. It’s tough to stay motivated during a copyedit when I see that developmental feedback has not been put to good use.
Also, it’s a little discouraging to copyedit manuscripts from returning clients with the same mistakes I’ve addressed in previous books. I do my best to deliver valuable edits and exceed expectations. At the end of the day, the book baby belongs to the author, and it’s their choice what changes are accepted or rejected.
DL: What advice would you give to new writers?
KH: Read not just for entertainment, but with an analytical eye. Take notes about what works and try to figure out why. Take advantage of free critique swaps with other writers, find a mentor, and save up for whatever professional services you need to make sure you’re putting a quality product in front of readers.
DL: What do you like to do when you are not working on an editing project?
KH: Obviously, I’m most likely to be reading when not editing. I am unashamed about taking a book everywhere I go in case I find the opportunity to “wait” or politely tune out the rest of the world. I love to travel, will hike in fair weather, and tolerate rustic camping. To give back, I’m a dedicated blood donor and habitual volunteer.
DL: Where can writers learn more about you and your services?
KH: Writers can get more information here:
- Website: https://revisiondivision.com
- Facebook: https://facebook.com/RevisionDivision/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/revisiondivkimberly/
- Twitter: https://Twitter.com/RevisionDiv
- Blog: https://revisiondivision.com/tips
DL: Thanks so much for being here with us today. I know my fellow creatives will enjoy getting to know you as an editor!
KH: Thank you for this opportunity!