Technical editing is the best remedy against a headache. Seriously. Read on.
As a technical editor I see many projects that need either one of these things:
- Better wording – polishing of instructions to have better explanations of movement and manipulation
- Correct math – so, 12+6= 18
While all the projects tend to need a little bit of either potion, the more work I do the more I realize it tends to be more of one than another, which makes sense because we tend to be mostly verbal or numeral people and the dominant factor tends to take over.
A technical editor polishes those out, we will find out why we had a 6 missing from the underarm (Joeli and I had an almost 45min chat about this very topic. I had 6 sts missing and couldn’t figure out why!). We will visualize your project and tell you that, Right Side facing, while the right hand side of a back piece IS the Right Shoulder, the right hand side part of a front is actually the Left Shoulder and your front needs rewording.
Whenever I hear a designer say “I don’t need a technical editor, I have testers” I think “I don’t need a coffee filter, I have a tea strainer”. The big, glaring errors in patterns can be caught by a tester. A tester that knows your work is probably the most dangerous one, given that he/she knows your style of explaining and can therefore “figure out” what you mean, without bothering to say “I know what you mean but, putting my beginner hat on, I know I wouldn’t see it”. A technical editor (at least I do) puts on the dumb hat on and thinks “clunky hands, slippery yarn and I don’t know what a k2tog is”
The tester will also tell you the figures in their size don’t match up, but she/he may not see that the correlation between sizes is a multiple of 15 sts because those add up to a perfect 1.75″ increase between sizes, and you will get ONE size corrected. The technical editor will SEE the 15-ratio and tell you “here’s how I think this could work, is this what you were aiming for?”.
Not to mention seeing the missing spaces, the capitalized RS/WS, the links that aren’t interactive on your PDF, the chart symbol that went missing…
In short, we do a pretty invaluable job. The reason many beginner designers don’t want to hire TEs is because they feel it’s a pretty hefty price to pay and they don’t have the money. Which brings me back to what I said in my Yarn Support blog post – if you can’t pay for ingredients you can’t charge for the meal.
There are ways to ensure your TE invoice is cheaper:
- Follow your style sheet down to a t. If we are asked to edit to it, and I have to correct every rs/RS, it may take a while.
- Ask to be told about your mistakes, don’t let your TE edit without you going over it. I tend to send my designers lists of issues for them to either tell me why they did something a certain way or so they can correct it directly. If I have to do the changes, the clock runs for longer.
- Some TEs, myself included, can be held on retainer for a lot of projects at once for a flat fee per project.
- Swap first-looks with another designer friend. You can both look over each other’s patterns before sending them to a technical editor to ensure if there are mistakes, they may be caught ahead of time. Fewer mistakes = cheaper bill.
Which takes me back to the headache. Imagine ALL that could go wrong with a pattern. Numbers. Grammar. Instructions. Abbreviations. Wrong charts. ALL. Put the pattern out in the market for sale, wait until a couple of customers feel ballsy and email you. Angry customers are your headache. Not just your headache. They are your depression, self-doubt and migraine, the reason you doubt you have the skills to do this.
Good correct pattern = happy customers.Happy customers = repeat customers.—
What do you find is invaluable in your product?