Friday, April 8, 2011

7 Pet Peeves of Editors by Editor Jim Watkins

One of my favorite editors and all-around funny guy Jim Watkins recently posted “Seven Pet Peeves of an Editor” on Facebook. He agreed to let me share them with you here. I’m so relieved, because one of my pet peeves is people who refuse to share.

Now I don’t have to be mad at Jim.

Here are Jim's 7 Editor's Pet Peeves:

#1: Manuscripts with 15 different fonts. Amateurish! The house’s designer selects fonts, so stick to Times New Roman for everything. EVERYTHING!

#2: Those who claim, “God wrote every word of this manuscript.” If so, His writing skills have really suffered since the Bible.

#3 Authors who argue with editors. We’re not perfect, but we do have the power of rejection slips and check requisitions.

#4 Writers are not consistent. One writer actually wrote, “I was not sure whether to capitalize divine pronouns, so I made half upper case and half lower case.”

#5. Authors who don’t follow the houses writers’ guidelines and style sheets. Sorry, they are not negotiable.

#6: Writers who don't know the difference between good (adjective) and well (adverb). (However, I'd be out of a good job if they wrote too well!)

#7: Authors who view editors as adversaries. Our only purpose is to make them look good.

As Kermit the Frog once said, “It’s not easy being an editor.” Or something similar.

I’ve recently begun freelance editing. It’s no party pointing out errors, shining a searchlight on gaps, and finding ways to fix broken scenes. The joy comes when the finished piece sparkles because of God’s grace, the writer’s talent, and your two dollars’ worth of help (I know it used to be two cents…).

Would you like to make your living as an editor? What would be the most/least fun part of the job for you?

P.S. In addition to Jim's regular Hope and Humor website, he has a new treasure trove of helps for believers called Disciple Sites,  a connection to everything from Bible study helps to blogs to Christian media & music.


  1. I'd like being an editor but I don't know enough grammar rules. I'm SO guilty of Jim's number six. lol

  2. Jim IS funny! Enjoyed is list. :-)

    Maybe the least fun part might be dealing with authors. LOL Some are really sensitive about their writing.

  3. I have always been a big fan of Jim's work. I have worked as an editor,too--and I did enjoy it. Maybe I just like to point out other people's mistakes? My kids would probably say so.

  4. Hi Jen -

    Thanks for re-posting this article. I missed the original.

    I think I'd need more information/training to determine if I'd like being an editor. While I've critiqued more than a few written pieces, I always feel like I need to tread carefully.

    Susan :)

  5. Excellent tips. I'm wondering now if I have my 'good' and 'well' right! At this time, I'd have to say no to being a editor, except for my kids.

  6. I don't think I could be an editor but do really value what they do. :)

  7. Lately I've been praying about the opposite of #2--that I'm including Him enough in my planning and writing.

    That tends to be more my concern.
    ~ Wendy

  8. Enjoyed this posting! Always good to hear the other side.

    BTW, I couldn't access the link to Jim's Hope and Humor (maybe it was just at my end)....

  9. Brenda; I fixed it. Try it now, please.


  10. Practical and helpful . . . thanks.


  11. Very interesting, Jeanette. It helps to know what happens on the other end, so to speak, and how an editor thinks.

    I have no desire to be an editor, but I'm glad someone does! :)

    You added your wonderful "Jeanette" touches to this piece, dear.

  12. This was a great post. I would not like to be an editor, because I don't like telling other people what is wrong with their creative babies.

    James' site looks very helpful. Thanks for the info.

  13. Thanks, Jeanette. I've had the privilege of hearing Jim speak. He's great. I don't know that I would want to be an editor. Thanks for his sites.

  14. What good tips. Someone once asked me to look at a few chapters of a book she had written and tell her what I thought. I did, and she didn't like it, and never spoke to me again. So you're brave to take on the editing role - some people just don't take criticism well - or as Jim would say, good.

  15. Neat tips--I also enjoyed looking at his website. Thanks for dropping by my blog.

  16. I could NEVER be an editor - for reasons that define WHY I need an editor! :)

  17. An informal critique offers my opinion, but I'm neither confident enough nor experienced enough to be an editor. I used to work at a job that included lots of proofreading, but real editing requires so much more. I love Jim's pet peeves and am heading over to check out his sites. Thanks, Jenn!

  18. I love Jim's style:)) And yes I know, editors are there to help us:) Thank heavens for them!

  19. Good list, girl! I wish I could not be so busy so I could hang out on the internet more and see your smiling face! I hope your foot is better!!!

  20. I don't know that I'd actually want to be an editor, but I do think it's kind of fun to find and correct grammar mistakes. I know, I'm weird. :)


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