Let’s face it, every writer needs an editor to look over their work. You are too close to the project and it’s hard to be objective about your work. An editor can do that for you and figure out the points you are going wrong and those areas where you have displayed your creative genius. You may have an editor in mind or are looking for one, but how do you go about choosing one? I have made a list of considerations you must think about before you sign on the dotted line.
First need to think about you:
- How many rounds of edits have you done yourself?
So when are you supposed to give it to an editor? In my opinion, you give your manuscript to an editor when you realise you do not know what else you could possibly change and it should most definitely be done before you send out queries.
- What is it that you want from the editing process?
Copy or Line editing is when the editor goes over the work to make sure that your grammar is correct, that your tense doesn’t jump, that your voice is not disjointed and to correct/pick up on spelling mistakes.
Whereas, developmental editing is when the editor looks at your story as a whole and points out areas where the plot isn’t working, where the world building is lacking or if your characters appear to be two-dimensional.
Now start looking for an editor:
Now that you know what your novel needs and feel like you are in the right place to start the editing process, then you need to consider these few points when looking for an editor:
- There is no such thing as a “good” price.
The price shouldn't be a deciding factor, but it is something everyone considers. A lower price doesn't mean low quality and a higher price doesn't mean high quality. Some editors do not list rates on their websites, but do not let that deter your from enquiring because it doesn't mean that they are untrustworthy, it may mean that they tailor their price according to what you need. When you talk to the editor about price, you'll also want to see if payment plans are available and which payment methods are accepted.
- Are you supplied with a sample edit?
- how many words is the sample they are editing?
- Is the sample edit free?
- If the editor charges for the sample edit, what is the cost?
- If the editor charges for the sample edit is this cost deducted from the total editing fee if you choose the editor?
- What is their editing process like?
- How does the editor provide the service?
- Are Microsoft Word Track Changes and Comments used?
- Do you use Google Documents and use comments?
- Do you print out the document and mark it by hand?
- What is the average turnaround time?
- Does the editor provide updates during editing? What does the editor require from you?
- Communication, communication, communication!
- The method by which the editor is available i.e. via e-mail, Internet chat programs such as Facebook messenger, Skype, mobile or text.
- Does the editor respond in a timely fashion (usually within 2-3 business days) of your initial editing inquiry? First impressions are everything, so it is likely that if that editor is tardy in responding to you, then most likely they will be hard to reach during the entire process.
- What are your editor's view on editing?
- Is a stickler for rules?
- Does the editor understand that sometimes rules are broken (e.g. Stylistic sentence choices).
- What is the editor's goal and belief in respect to editing? Will the editor ensure your voice and style are maintained?
- What do you know about the editor?
- Have you heard about the editor in writing/book communities?
- Have other authors recommended the editor to you?
- Does the editor have a website and/or social media sites?
- Is there a list of past projects the editor has worked on? If so, could you get access to it?
- Does the website give information about the editor and the service provided?
- Are there testimonials/reviews listed on the editor's website and/or social media sites? Is there a chance you could talk to these people yourself online etc?
- Does the editor have a preferred genre? Are there any genres the editor won't edit?
- How is the editor's attitude?
- Editing services contract.
I hope you found this article interesting and informative. I really hope that it helps you in your journey to publication!