Finding And Hiring The Right Editor For Your Manuscript
Welcome to a nerve-wrecking stage!
You’ll notice that the closer you get to publishing your manuscript, the more difficult and endless this journey may seem is.
Finding the right editor for your novel is hard work, basically because just about anyone can freely call themselves an editor nowadays and get away with it. And you, the author, can be so easily fooled into believing it due to the lack of experience in this field.
I started searching for the right editor for my novel, Lost in Amber, after polishing the manuscript as much as I could and making all the necessary changes.
Don’t “last minute” anything, proper research is key in the journey from writing to publishing your novel.
Why You Should Hire An Editor For Your Manuscript
I’m just going to imagine you’re at the beginning of this rollercoaster ride, you may have one upcoming novel or several projects up your sleeve and you want to make a name for yourself as a writer.
- What you don’t want is having an entire industry laugh at your hard work and mock your efforts because you just didn’t take it seriously enough.
- You don’t want to be that author giving the self-publishing industry a bad name.
- You value the quality of your work.
What Type Of Book Editing Services Are Out There And Which One Should I Choose
Again, this is a personal choice and it should be based on your experience as a writer and the level of trust you have in your manuscript.
For the love of Mother Grammar, try to brush up on your typos as much as possible before handing your work over to a professional. I used Grammarly, but there are plenty of options out there.
Here are some popular editing services professional editors offer their clients:
This type of editing service focuses on relevant feedback about your content, character development, consistency in dialogue or flow on the overall manuscript.
It means having a professional eye examine the core of your novel, plot, subplot, consistency and development of relationships between characters and scenes.
A developmental editor will be able to tell you if you’re doing it right, if the pace is good and if your story is as good on paper as it is in your mind’s eye.
This type of editing focuses on paragraph structure, author voice, readability, sentence structure, spelling, grammar and some feedback on content. The editor focuses on giving your novel the flow and wording it deserves.
It so happens that without even realizing it, we may be repetitive. This editor will offer suggestions and even teach you how to be a better writer, painting a picture with words.
Without a doubt, every single manuscript should get professionally proofread before reaching the shelves. This stage focuses on consistency, spelling, grammar, punctuation and of course, typos.
I was quite confident in the development of Lost in Amber, so I decided to request copy-line editing and proofreading in order to polish my manuscript.
By this stage, you’ve seen your manuscript so many times already, that you just can’t see the forest because of the trees, so you need that expert second opinion like a fish needs water.
Where To Look For Professional Book Editors
This search is of course, based on preference and budget.
An editor who is actively searching for clients on platforms such as Goodreads, Facebook or Twitter will probably charge less than an established editor with a good website and a solid reputation.
And when I say “less” I mean the difference can be 500$ or 5000$.
Publishing a book is a personal goal and a business investment, so my advice would be to avoid bankruptcy before take off. At all cost.
If you’re on social media, ask for recommendations.
Both Goodreads and Facebook have countless groups to choose from.
Fiverr.com offers quite the selection as well.
How To Approach A Book Editor
When you create a post searching for an editor, you must include the following:
- Novel genre & subgenre
- Wordcount (75k, 110k, 90k etc.)
- Type of editing service you will need
- Turnaround time (it shouldn’t take longer than 1.5 months)
- If your manuscript is in American English, BrE, Canadian, Australian, etc.
- Final price
This is optional, but I value someone who tries to do this professionally, so I personally request their website, author recommendations and some general proof to avoid scammers.
You’ll see that many editors will approach you and give you a budget. Don’t panic if budgets differ greatly, it will make your choice easier.
After you’ve done your research, looked at their portfolio and verified they’ve worked with authors in your genre, collect at least 30-40 emails (yeah, you heard me!) and send them a sample to check their editing skills.
Choosing The Right Editor
Making the right pick is most of the time a question of matching styles and communication preferences, long story short, if and how you click with your editor.
Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am a complete control freak and I hate surprises of any kind. I don’t “wing it” nor “go with the flow” when it comes to my professional life, so yes, my editor & I have to be on the same page.
For Lost in Amber, I’ve sent samples of around 2000 words to no less than thirty-five editors.
Excessive? Not when it means getting the best possible result, and man, you’ll be in for a huge surprise!
Because I was well aware of scammers or people who call themselves editors without having the faintest clue of what the word “syntax” actually means, I incorporated some intended mistakes in my sample (mixed narrative, 1st, 2nd and 3rd person, etc.)
I found editors who declared themselves the cream of the crop and misused prepositions, editors who, despite an amazing website and great references, lacked the professional skill they charged top dollar for.
I found editors who didn’t even have a webpage, or had a very shady blog and did a great job. Better marketing doesn’t replace skill but it does help exposure.
You should never go with the first editor answering your call to action, not without actually seeing what they can do.
I started this project with an open mind and although my novel, Lost in Amber, should appeal to a female audience in its vast majority, I’ve also given a few samples to male editors.
Once you get the sample back from your selection of editors, you’ll notice that it has been corrected in tons of different ways, and that’s when the hard part comes in. You have to look at each one, analyze, compare and make the right pick.
After receiving the edited samples, I’ve shortlisted:
- Editors who did not respect the deadline (if they didn’t send my sample back on time, I had no guarantee they’d take the job seriously)
- Editors who made spelling mistakes in our email exchanges
- Editors who were not north-American or well versed in the language perks of my manuscript
- Editors who didn’t notice the inconsistency in narrative (watch out, as this is the best and most important clue if you’re dealing with a professional in the industry or a fraud)
- Editors who were too eager making corrections, turning my manuscript into a perfectly polished manual, deleting emotional content and completely erasing my author voice
I narrowed the search down to my final top three editors based on the following criteria:
- Communication (prompt, answered all my questions and doubts in under 24 hours)
- Thorough editing skills
- Fans of the genre I write in
And then… well, then I chose with my heart and I don’t regret it one bit. Despite being fresh out of school, I chose my editor for her honesty, skill and because frankly, my heart was screaming to give a newbie a chance.
But she’s not any newbie, her editing skills were sharper than average and she’s done an amazing job on Lost in Amber.
I’ll be forever grateful.