A regular reader asked the question about exactly what a Tech Editor does?
I acquired my editor when Julia Grunau of http://www.patternfish.com/ told me I needed one. At that point I didn't really know what I should expect to get from one either. How did I find her you ask? I went to my guild meeting and asked someone if they knew any and was immediately pointed to someone I had chatted to several times in the past. Today as a member of http://www.ravelry.com/ I would use the forums for recommendations to find one.
As to what she does for me? My editor has turned out to be worth her weight in gold. I bounce ideas off her. I ask all sorts of questions that are helping me transition to becoming a professional designer. I have to answer her questions about my patterns which often clarify exactly what I'm trying to express to other Knitters. She keeps me in line with generally accepted pattern writing standards. She also edits a number of other BIG NAME designers so I know that I'm being pushed up to their standards. She helps me determine what level of knitter can knit my design and makes suggestions for making the pattern accessible to more levels of knitting experience. It was my Editor that confirmed to me my name not a company name should be on all of my patterns. We also discuss trends in yarn buying and what people are interested in knitting. She has helped me to figure out my weaknesses (publishing and graphics) and my strengths (my understanding of garment construction and fitting).
When she works on the pattern she corrects my grammar. She makes all of the formatting consistent. She checks all of my numbers for grading and yarn requirements. She recently caught an error on a yarn distributors site on the colour name and number not matching up with the ball band. They fixed the site after I let them know. She has described her process as mentally knitting the pattern and if something doesn't make sense to her she picks up her needles and does a quick sample of that portion. She also has the ability to reverse engineer from a garment or to all the grading if I choose to write only one size. She has also given me many suggestions to improve my patterns so that I can cut down on editing costs, which is money out of her pocket!
She has been very encouraging about my work from our first meeting which is wonderful for me as a "newbie"