Editing Tips

Editing Tips: How To Select An Editor

cc_red_pen_editI’ve been lucky enough to have a great editor, Lane Diamond, edit my children’s books published through Evolved Publishing. However, when you’re self-publishing, you need to find your own editor. It can be overwhelming for an author looking to self-publish: not only do you need to find an editor, but you also need a cover artist, a printer, a formatter, and so on. You’re wearing so many heads you probably won’t be able to keep them apart. So I’m here to help you and give you some tips when looking for an editor.

Finding a good editor is probably the most important thing about the publishing process. If your book is riddled with errors, then people will complain while reading it. Deliver a quality product. People want to buy quality reads. If you deliver a half-finished product, that will show in the reviews, and people won’t buy your book. Even if they buy it, then they won’t buy any sequels. Take your time, look through the options, and make sure you hire an editor who has the credentials and professionalism you need.

Here are some tips to find a good editor for your project.

1. Good editors don’t come cheap

Good editors cost money. I’m not saying you should buy thousands upon thousands of dollars to edit your book, but if an editor offers to edit your 100,000 words novel for $100, then you have to start wondering about how experienced and professional they are.

Think about it. If the editor edits one manuscript for $100, then in order to make a living, they have to edit at least ten manuscripts a month, if not more. That’s a lot for just one month.

If, on the other hand, the editor charged $1000 for the manuscript, then they only have to edit one or two books a month to make a living. That means they have more time to spend on your work, they don’t need to rush it, and they can do multiple rounds of edits for your book.

Be realistic when you set your budget for self-publishing. The largest chunk of that budget will probably go to an editor. But like I mentioned before, if you don’t deliver a quality product, then people won’t enjoy your reading your book. A good editor can help you bring your writing to the next level, and help deliver a quality book.

Once you’ve set your budget for editing, stick to it. Look for an editor in that price range, so you have enough budget left afterward to pay for a book cover, formatting, and all the other things you need to self-publish your book.

2. Good editors are usually booked

Start planning well in advance. A good editor is usually booked months beforehand. If their entire schedule is cleared, you could either be lucky, or you’re dealing with a not-so-professional editor who doesn’t have a lot of clients yet. Don’t expect to contact an editor and have the book ready for publication the next month.

Some people recommend looking for an editor even before your book is finished.I  wouldn’t do that – what if you never end up finishing it? But make sure you leave enough time between contacting an editor and  your desired publication date. Contact the editor at least three months beforehand, maybe even up to six months.

3. Find out what type of editing you need

There’s a difference between developmental editing, copy editing, line editing. I won’t go into too much detail in this post, but figure out what kind of editing you’re looking for before you get started. Some editors offer packages that include all three types of editing – that might be a good idea as well if you want the complete package.

Developmental editing is usually the most expensive, and copy editing the cheapest. But each type of editing covers a different aspect. In short, developmental editing focuses on story and content, whereas copy editing focuses on grammar and spelling errors.

Do your research. Find out what you’re looking for before you hire an editor.

4. Ask for a sample edit

Most editors offer a sample edit. Ask them to edit at least 1,000 words – that way you can get a feel of how they edit. They could be the best editors in the world, but that doesn’t mean their style will match with yours. See if you’re comfortable with the edits they suggest, and if you think their style works with what you’re looking for.

However, be realistic. Your manuscript will not be a flawless. An editor who says so, is probably not doing a good job. It hurts an author’s ego to see their manuscript covered in red editor’s notes, but it’s a necessary step in the publishing process.

If you’re deciding between several editors, it’s a good idea to put their sample edits next to each other and figure out which edits you think work best for your book.

5. Look at the editor’s othor work

Ask for the titles of some of the books the editor has worked on. Read the free sample from those books on Amazon. Are there any errors? Does the writing sound professional?

If you’re not convinced, talk to authors the editor has worked with before. Ask their opinion.

Good luck finding the right editor for your work! If you have any other tips for finding a good editor, please share them in the comments below.

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