What does a technical editor (a.k.a. tech editor or TE) do, and do you need one?
Let’s get the simplest question out of the way. If you self-publish knitting or crochet patterns, then you need a technical editor.
As a tech editor, I work with independent designers to ensure their patterns are consistent, accurate, and polished before they release their work into the wild. A tech editor is different from a test knitter. A test knitter creates the item and gives feedback regarding clarity of instructions, gauge, yarn substitution results, etc. A tech editor doesn’t actually make the item; one of the mythical powers of tech editing is the ability to knit or crochet in one’s head.
My goal is to paint you in the best light possible so your customers will have a positive experience and come back for more.
- Copyediting–If your pattern is riddled with everyday typos, the instructions themselves may be questioned. I’ll check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. You’ll look like you aced English class when I’m done.
- Consistency–Do you use the same abbreviations throughout? Are you consistent with capitalization, line spacing, and notation of pattern repeats?
- Accuracy–Does the pattern produce what you say it will? Are stitch counts correct? Do your imperial and metric measurements jive? Can finished measurements for all sizes be achieved with the stated gauge? You’ll look like a math whiz, too.
- Feasibility–Do the instructions say to work 24 stitches when there are only 20? Can 6 sets of short rows actually fit into 20 stitches? You say to bind off on the wrong side, but you don’t give instructions for the previous right side row. You say to attach arms to the body of the toy, but the arms haven’t even been made yet. I’ll scratch my head so your customers won’t have to.
- Readability and Flow–Does it make sense? Is there a better way to word this? Does one section logically lead into the next? I’ll suggest new wording that will minimize the need for pattern support down the road.
- Charts–Does the pattern repeat fit into the number of stitches on the needle? Are there too many increases or decreases to actually fit into the row? Do your chart and written instructions match? Do you even have a chart? I’ll check it all. If you need a knitting chart, I can create one for you with StitchMastery.
Convinced that you need a tech editor now? Contact me to check my availability.