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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tips for Choosing the Right Editor for your Indie Book

Seen on Rinelle Grey's Website:

Since the advent of self publishing, there has been a huge number of editors offering their services with a varied range of experience, price, attention to detail, and style. Finding and then choosing one isn’t always easy, and can be very daunting the first time.


1. Decide what sort of editing help you need

All editing is not created equal. Editing types range all the way from content/developmental edits, which will give you a general idea of where your story is strong and where it is weak. I usually start with this kind of editing. On the other end of the scale, is proofreading, which only picks up obvious spelling and grammar mistakes. In between, you can get various forms of line and copyediting, and I’m not completely sure of the difference! Most editors will tell you what services they offer, and the different prices they charge for each service. Some will offer a mix of styles.


2. Don’t just use Google to search for ‘editors’

Yes, if you do this you will get a LOT of search results. And the ones up the top will be the most popular, most expensive, and probably booked months in advance. If you have the money to spare, by all means, pick the best! If you’re like me, and on a budget, this will probably just discourage you.


3. Know your budget

Before you choose an editor, or even before you look at too many, you need to decide how much can you afford to spend on editing. Be realistic. If this is your first, or even your second book, don’t decide how much to spend based on how much you’re hoping to earn! (Unless your first book sold thousands of copies, in which case, ignore me and go write more books!) The reality is, that a $2,000 editor probably isn’t going to mean you earn an extra $2,000 on your book! Editing is important, but it doesn’t sell books on it’s own (cover and story are far more effective at this).

Once you have an idea of your budget, stick to it. The first thing I look for when I go to an editors webpage is the price section. If it’s out of my budget, I close the page and go on to the next one. If they don’t tell me what their price is, I do the same, because it’s almost certain to be out of my price range! Generally I have a range – what I’d like to spend, and what I’m prepared to spend if I find an editor I just love.


4. Consider your timeframe

When I first started looking at editors, I was surprised at how quickly they booked out. Many are booked out months in advance! If you’re trying to find an editor at the last minute, be prepared to either pay a lot more than you wanted to, or to make do with an editor who wouldn’t be your first choice. The earlier you can book an editor, the better.


5. Ask the editor if they will do a sample edit

I cannot stress this enough! Before you hire any editor, they should be prepared to edit a sample of your actual novel for you.


6. Be aware that it will hurt

Editing is tough. You don’t want an editor who will sugar coat the changes you need to make, and no matter how good you think you are, an editor will find things you need to change!



Have you ever had to pick an editor? Do you have any tips to share with us?

Read the full article at rinellegrey.com

Although Rinelle Grey always loved to write, it wasn’t until her daughter was about eighteen months old that Rinelle started writing seriously. Probably not the best stage in terms of having spare time! And time only became scarcer when her daughter gave up her day sleep six months later. But by then, Rinelle had well and truly caught the writing bug, finding time somehow to continue with her passion. Her fast typing speed learnt from spending way too much time chatting on IRC, and the investment in an iPad when they came out, helped immensely.


Unknown said...

This is a great tip list. The only thing I will say as a content editor is for content editing, my rate depends on the length and the level of the manuscript, so each project is evaluated individually and a price negotiated from there. Don't be afraid to approach an editor if they don't have a rate listed.

I would also recommend you self-edit before submitting to an editor. The less work an editor has to do, typically the lower the rate.

Nice article!

Rachel Cooper said...

I agree with Annetta. You can also let an editor know your budget and work out how to get the best services for your money. Structural editing should happen before copy editing; otherwise, the copy editing will just have to be done again after you make a bunch of changes – and paid for again. It should be structural editing, stylistic editing, copy editing, and proofreading, in that order.

However, to do all four can get pricey. Maybe the best use of an editor's time (and your budget) will be to critique the manuscript and give you a report on how you can rewrite it to improve it. Or, if the structure is good, to copy edit the first three chapters and help you with your query letter.

A good editor wants to help you succeed as a writer. Don't be afraid to open a conversation on the different ways you might work together.

Goodfoot Editorial said...

I'd say that most new writers, unless they've researched, aren't aware of the different kinds of editing.

Developmental/Substantive is crucial if you're not Shakespeare, especially if there's any kind of complex plotline or intricate characters OR if it's just too long.

Equally important is the Copy Editor who falls in between (according to the description above). That's where I come in! I smooth out all the rough edges, fixing anything that's illogical and making sure everything is consistent and grammatically sound. It may not sound like much, but you'd be surprised how many people, for example, don't use proper punctuation, which can sometimes affect content. A writer can also instruct the editor as to the level of copyedit preferred.

Working in fiction, I've found that writers can be very particular about what they want done to their manuscripts. If someone is looking to hire an editor, he or she has to be willing to hear (read) constructive criticism. In turn, editors have to be mindful that what they're working on is often personal. And even though something may technically be an error, if it's not egregious, chalking it up to "author style" is permissible. It's a delicate balance! It's important to choose an editor who has empathy as well as grammatical acumen.


Mallie Rydzik said...

I think these are very good points, and I like your comment about not knowing the difference between line and copyediting--I feel the same way! Most editors have a very specific idea of what each service entails. I think it's important for authors and editors to communicate expectations clearly to one another. That's why I use a contract outlining everything ahead of time.

Unknown said...

These are very good points that all writers should consider. I always do a 'trial' piece first with a new writer - usually a chapter or two depending on the size, it gives us both the chance to test the working collaboration and make sure we're 'on the same page' for the style and creative flow of the book. It also allows me to give an initial feedback report including a description of the kind of editing that is required and also advise the author of any further copyedits that they can do before submitting the whole piece - which can be essential for fledgling indie authors trying to keep their costs down.

Annetta makes a good point too, most of us will have a 'base' rate for each service and will charge each piece individually based on length and level of work required, but I believe this should be a negotiable agreement with the author so that they can get the best service they can afford, tailored to their individual needs.

As editors we want to see the book polished and ready for publication. The analogy is often given about writing that it's like childbirth, if that's the case then we are the midwives, cleaning the face and checking the fingers and toes before the 'parent' takes the precious newborn out into the world.

Maya Rock said...

I agree with all these insightful comments and will add my own. I find that conversations on the phone with clients go a long way to making everyone feel comfortable and "on the same page." The personal connection will make you more confident of and trusting in the editor.

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