on finding a tech editor

Let’s address something that is likely the first problem designers encounter:

How do I find a tech editor?

How, indeed. Blind searches on Google or on Instagram hashtags often don’t yield the answers we expect or hope to get. And I mean, that sucks, since it is how we have become accustomed to finding what we need. A lot of the time, technical editors are not super skilled at marketing or selling tactics, and don’t have their SEO/hashtag game strong, or aren’t even in that game. Where most tech editors are, are in community with other makers and tech editors, being helpful and doing their due diligence to improve their skills. So keep an eye out in any community where you are a member.

Other than that:

  1. If Google and Instagram searches fail you, check out these online spaces:
  1. If you have designer friends or colleagues that you trust, ASK THEM. Even if you don’t, ask a designer whose work you admire. Yes, it is okay to shoot them a message or email and simply ask if they have worked with a tech editor they would recommend. Ask them these things about the tech editor (in addition to anything specific you would like to know!):
  • Their availability in any given season (Will it be hard for you to get on their calendar - do you need to plan in advance, or will last-minute work?)
  • The communication experience (Were things clearly communicated and timely, or was it hard to get a hold of them and hard to figure things out? Do they offer Zoom or phone calls, messaging, emails?)
  • Their work process (How will it work, and what is expected of you? What document style is preferred, and are they open to what works for you?)
  • The agreements or contracts involved (You want some kind of statement, even an email, that says what you can expect.)
  • The kinds of errors that were missed (Was it the kind of thing that was easily remedied, so that their work was still worth it, or was it the kind of thing that made the designer worry that maybe some things were not even checked?)
  • What did they love about working with this editor?
  • Would they work with this editor again? (Why, or why not?)
  1. Head to your favorite knitting publication or yarn company, and snoop who the pattern tech editor was on that issue or collection. Then do your search to find their contact info, or reach out the publication or yarn company and ask your questions.

This should get you started in your search. Getting recommendations from other designers, yarn companies, or publishers is often your best bet, but not always! Don’t hesitate to submit your project needs in The Tech Editor Hub and see what responses you receive - that is always worth a shot, and no commitment.

Wherever or however you find a technical editor to work with, make sure to prioritize communication upfront regarding working style and process, timing and billing, what you will receive, and what is expected of you. Do not skip this step - take control of it. Make every email count, and be sure to communicate about the tasks, edits, and content, yes, but also about your time and anything that gets in your way of working for your client, which is your obligation. No one likes surprises, especially you, and definitely not your client.