WELCOME TO THE GUIDE FOR HIRING AN EDITOR
WOW, YOU JUST FINISHED YOUR FIRST DRAFT.
Congratulations! Pat yourself in the back. Good? Ok. Now go back to your MS and edit the living hell out of it. And I don’t mean the grammar stuff because your penmanship doesn’t need to be perfect at this stage. What you’ll do is fix plot points, rewrite scenes, work on the pace and flow, delete scenes and even characters, and probably change some major stuff drastically.
AND YOU’LL FINISH YOUR SECOND DRAFT!
Congratulations! Pat yourself in the back. Good? Ok. The next step is all about what you feel comfortable with. I for one, like to go back and work on a third draft. Yeah, yeah, call me crazy or whatevs, but it’s what works for me. If you feel fine with two drafts, then move to the next step.
YAY! I CAN HIRE AN EDITOR NOW!
No, you may not. Editors cost money, and if you want to save some and increase the quality of your book (which we both know you do), you’ll be familiarized with a very neat term called CROWD SOURCING.
OK, CPS have gone through my work and I’ve made the necessary changes. Can I hire an editor now?
You may, but you should consider hiring a content editor, also known as a development or structure editor. What these nice folk provide is a report on your book: What’s working, what’s not working, and ideas to make things fit. They’ll analyze your voice, your characters, plot, development and incongruities.
When they’re done, you’ll take that fifteen to thirty pages report and fix the schnitzel out of your novel (which by now is on what, its 4th draft?)
BONUS TIP: Editors give you samples, so you can see if their work style matches yours. However, sending samples is hard with a content edit, so ask for an example of the editor’s previous work. They should be able to provide that, and if they refuse, find another editor. Remember to run away from editors who charge you a fee for sending samples.
OK, I’VE GONE THROUGH MY CONTENT EDITS. WHAT NOW?
A line edit. It’s time to face the famous Red Pen of Death. Your content editor reviewed the bones of your story. Now it’s time to amend the flesh.
A line editor will check the flow, grammar, dialogues, and a bunch of other stuff, line by line. Where the content edit was macro, the line edit is micro. It’s a thorough edit, and it’s usually quite expensive.
BONUS TIP II: Content edits are fairly cheap if compared to line edits, because they’re faster to make and they don’t go deep into the nitty-gritty. So never, ever get a line edit BEFORE a content edit. EVER.
BONUS TIP III: Line editors should provide you with a sample, so make sure to ask for it. I usually ask them to edit the first 5 pages of my MS, just to get a taste of how they work. Also, they should take a second look at the MS after you’ve gone through their changes. This is called a “second round of edits”.
OMG FINALLY, I’M DONE!
Bi***, please. If you plan on self-publishing you need to hire a copy editor. They will fix the grammar, punctuation and even some weird phrasing.
SERIOUSLY, ARE WE DONE NOW? I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE.
Okay, but don’t forget that:
- It’s all about what you’re comfortable with. Maybe you don’t want a content edit, and assuming that you know what you’re doing, that’s fine. People tick differently.
- Word of mouth is the absolute best way to find an editor. Ask your fellow writers about their experiences and get contacts, but since prices range a LOT, do make a proper research. Keep in mind there are a lot of scammers out there, but if you want a professional edit, it’s probably going to cost you a bit.
- Don’t forget to check websites like Elance to get quotes from several editors.
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