If you've never worked with a technical editor before, you may have many questions about what we do, how the process works, and how you benefit. The good news is that it's easier than you might think to work with tech editors to take your pattern to the next level.
Why do I need a tech editor?
Technical editors, in very general terms, help with two main things:
1. The accuracy and clarity of a knitting pattern. We have all knit from patterns where something like this happens: "Repeat these 12 stitches 5 times to end," and you have meticulously followed the pattern and have 58 stitches on the needle. As a knitter, what do you do? Do you take off the first stitch of the first repeat and the last stitch of the last repeat to keep the pattern centered? Or do you frog it and increase 2 stitches on the row below? This conundrum is rather unwelcome for the knitter, and they may not choose a pattern from the same designer again in the future. It is very important for your reputation as a designer that your patterns are clear and easy to follow. Technical editors will check everything from materials lists and stitch count calculations for each row to sizing standards and spell checking. We can take the confusion out of complicated pattern repeats by creating a chart, and illustrate proper garment construction with a schematic. It really helps to have an extra set of eyes double checking everything and making suggestions for how to make your pattern more clear!
2. The consistency of style and formatting across all of your patterns. As you grow as a designer, it is helpful to establish consistency between your patterns. This way, if a knitter bought a previous pattern from you and enjoyed it, they know that if they buy another pattern from you they can count on the same formatting and clarity. This helps build trust with your customers. A technical editor can work with you to develop a style sheet, which gives an outline of formatting and text phrases to be used in all of your patterns. This ensures that your instructions are consistent and clear from pattern to pattern. Do you prefer to say "Round 1" or "Rnd 1"? How will you give instructions for repeats? Find a great way to describe your favored bind-off? Put it in the style sheet to use in all your new patterns, so you don't need to re-invent the wheel!
Will the tech editor knit my pattern?
No. We do all the calculations and checks by hand. This means that it only takes a couple hours or less to edit the entire pattern from start to finish, including all garment sizes. If you're looking for someone to knit a sample for you, look for a sample knitter. If you’re wanting your pattern to be tested by actual knitters, look for test knitters - they also give valuable advice on improving your pattern and will check in with you as they go along on how to make instructions more clear. (Test knitting is also a valuable part of the pattern-writing process.)
How does the process go?
1. Find a technical editor who likes editing your type of pattern. If you have a pattern for socks, you'll want a technical editor who likes editing socks (and perhaps has knit a few). You might not have as good of an experience with a technical editor who specializes in entrelac scarves and has never knit a sock. Generally speaking, if I am not a good fit for your type of pattern, I can refer you to someone who is, so don't hesitate to ask!
2. Email the tech editor your pattern and request a quote. I prefer to receive patterns in PDF format, but also accept Microsoft Word documents. Include in your request if you'd like any charts or schematics made (or style sheet, etc). We'll give it a quick look over and give you a quote. We'll also let you know when you can expect to see the pattern back. My hourly rate and estimated turnaround time is on my Rates and Turnaround page.
3. Review and approve the estimate to begin work. Once you give the go-ahead, our work begins. We'll thoroughly edit your pattern and have it back to you by the promised time. There are a couple of reasons why we may contact you before the entire pattern is edited:
- We found a counting or construction error that percolates through the garment. If you need to make an edit that will change all the numbers in the rest of the pattern, we'll stop and contact you to fix. No point in spending time editing something that will change.
- We think we will go over our time estimate (rare, but does happen for various reasons). My policy is as soon as I know a pattern will take longer than I originally quoted, I will stop and contact the designer to discuss options.
4. Receive your edited pattern. Look over the suggestions made by the tech editor and update your pattern accordingly. If there are just a few numbers or phrases to change, we might be done at this point. Usually I give 2 types of edits: "Need to do this" edit, for example a stitch count update that needs to be done to be mathematically correct, and "Suggestion edits" which are along the lines of "this sentence is confusing, consider revising it to ____ to make it more clear", etc. These edits are optional as they are not necessarily wrong but could be better, implementing them is totally up to you.
5. Send in Version 2 of the pattern (if needed). Sometimes, one or two rounds of back-and-forth is needed to get the pattern to its final version. There might be a small section (example: toe of sock) where the math didn't work that has to be re-checked. This is typically pretty quick, as only that portion of the pattern needs to be checked. The most important thing to do when sending in a pattern for revision is to make sure the Version 2 pattern has only the updates made from step 4. In the sock toe example above, I would only be expecting to check the toe in the Version 2 of the pattern. However, if all the other edits have not made it in the Version 2, or if you changed something in the heel in Version 2, this increases the possibility of errors and can add to your editing time. (If you do need to change something: Just let me know what heel change you made in Version 2, that way I'll make sure it gets checked, although it will increase your time. Be aware that some changes percolate through the garment and may need a re-edit of the entire pattern, which costs accordingly. I'll always give an estimate for you to approve before adding more time.)
6. Incorporate final edits and publish! Once you are satisfied with the final pattern, send it out for publishing!
7. Pay for the tech editing services. Upon completion of the work, I'll send you an invoice, payable through PayPal. My invoices are due in 30 days, which gives you some time to publish the pattern and get some pattern sales to cover the cost of the edit.
If you're ready to jump into the technical editing process, go ahead and contact me!