Self-published designers are often unaware of their need for a technical editor, or confused about what a technical editor does. This introductory article explains what technical editor might do for you.
This is not complete list, but it hits the highlights. There are many details involved in technical editing, and you will want to agree on the scope of the work the editor will do. Different technical editors may work different ways; read more details about working with Edie here.
- Assure that the stitch counts and all math results in the schematic numbers
- Assure that stitch multiples work as written
- Assure that shaping instructions result in the right numbers
- Assure that instructions work to create the sample garment
- Assure that conversions (imperial to metric or vice versa) are accurate
- Assure that measurements are rounded accurately
- Assure that sizing/grading makes sense, and questioning anything that seems off.
- Check accuracy of any stitch charts
- Check sample garment vs. pattern instructions vs. schematic to make sure they match
- Check for logic of construction and “best practices” for knit/crochet techniques
- Help create a style sheet if one does not exist
- Help designer with pattern-writing language
- Check for consistency and accuracy of language and punctuation within the pattern(s)
- Ensure appropriateness of pattern language for intended audience
- Create stitch charts and schematics (either rough charts for an art department to finalize, or final “camera-ready” art for the publisher)
- Make suggestions about pattern layout and graphic design
- Provide layout and graphic design services
Tech editing rates vary widely; contact individual tech editors for their rates and availability. See Edie’s rates here. The time it takes to edit a pattern also varies depending on the complexity of the pattern and the accuracy of the pattern submitted for editing. You may ask for an estimate of time, but it will be difficult for the editor to provide an estimate without first seeing the pattern.
If your patterns need a lot of copy-editing-type work to get them into a consistent format and language, or if you need help with pattern-writing terminology, you may need someone to first act as a “instruction writer/tech editor”, then hire a second tech editor to double-check the instructions. It will save you time and money to do everything you can to check and finalize the pattern before sending it to a tech editor.
My Bluprint class How to Say It: Pattern-Writing for Knitters covers many things you can do to make the tech editor’s job easier.
My online course Crochet Pattern Writing Workshop does the same for crocheters.
Some other articles you might find helpful:
How to Tell a Proofread from a Copy Edit
Professional Editorial Standards from Editors Canada