BEEP. Sent! I lean back in my chair as I send my manuscript off to my first editor. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you’re done with your manuscript, and now it’s in someone else’s hands. I love my editors. They save my work from looking like utter garbage and help me create the best product possible, that being said…
Is hiring an editor worth it?
The answer is and always will be a resounding YES. Editors will give you a fresh perspective on your story, help you find and fix typos, and polish your prose so that your book shines. Should you love your editors? Yes. Should you respect your editors? Yes. Most importantly, should you pay your editors? YES. If you find an editor who is trained and has a certificate or other educational equivalent in editing, they know their stuff. By entrusting your manuscript to someone who wants to see it succeed, your book will automatically be better. Not only that but with fresh eyes, they will be able to attack your manuscript and remove or help change anything that would make it less than stellar. They want your book to be as beautiful as it can be, so everybody wins!
Who should you hire as an editor?
I am lucky and have a lot of friends with editorial skills. If you don’t and are just starting out, do your research! There are plenty of smaller freelance editors that are looking for work. Avoid big editing companies that may not only overcharge you but will be less personal. It is far more satisfying to build a real human relationship with someone you like and trust rather than work for an enormous company that doesn’t really want to read your work, just make money. Also, the more the same editor reads your work, the more they’ll know you. They’ll be better in tune with your writing style and will also enjoy reading your work! Nothing is better than making a friend and building a community in writing. We’re all here for each other, and that is what this is about!
If you’re looking for a good editor, I offer services! You can always contact me through my website and we can get started working on your masterpiece. I would also highly recommend Inkbot Editing (inkbotediting.com). Molly is a total sweetheart and takes great pride in being the ultimate, super-helpful word nerd. She is personable and always meets deadlines, plus she is a total treat to work with. Both Molly and I can help with all forms of editing: developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, and proofreading.
What services do editors provide?
In the writing business, there are four major sections that make up the editing pipeline: Developmental Editing, Line or Style Editing, Copyediting, and Proofreading.
Developmental Editors go through your manuscript and assess things like plot, character development, flow, pacing, and overall quality of the story. These editors are going to help you make your idea as original as possible, your characters believable, and your plot free of holes. This is the first stage of editing, and if you’re interested in getting these kinds of edits for your book (HINT HINT you should be), do it before everything else.
Line Editors help polish the style of your book or manuscript. These editors look for words that are overused, run-ons, scenes where action is confusing, tonal shifts, passages that don’t read well, and words that don’t enhance your writing. This editor will help each individual word in your piece sparkle like it’s never sparkled before. This is typically done after developmental editing and before copyediting, but it can be the first stage in the editing pipeline as well if you’re ignoring developmental editing.
Copyeditors are the ultimate spellchecker. They’re much more valuable than an automated spellchecker in a word processing software and they’ll also help you find inconsistencies in word usage (co-operation versus cooperation, for example), curly versus straight quotes, and numerals versus written numbers. This is the last stage in editing before the book goes through to the press and is one of the most important. Many copyeditors in big publishing houses use software to look for these little inconsistencies over the whole manuscript.
Proofreaders are the last bastions before the book goes to print. These editors don’t edit so much as they help format the book. They are looking for unnecessary line breaks, formatting errors, or issues in your manuscript that would make it look terrible in print.
Each editor is important and serves a different role. If you really want your book to be the best it can be, you should always order a developmental edit, then a line edit, then a copyedit, and finally send it off to a book designer or a proofreader.
When should you send your book off for editing?
This is incredibly important. Do not send your book off if it ISN’T DONE. I cannot stress this enough. You will waste SO MUCH money sending an unfinished manuscript to an editor. You want to make sure the very last period is in your manuscript before you send it off to a developmental editor or line editor. If you’re not finished, you’re going to be sending the manuscript again and again as you add or take away pieces and that will cost you so much money it isn’t even funny. Not only that, but it can get really irritating for editors to read the same thing over and over, so be courteous.
This does not mean that you can’t send your book off to editors in parts. If you can’t afford their services at the moment for the entire book, you can see if they’ll edit chapter by chapter. This can help make services more affordable and also can be nice if you want to really pick your book apart on a small scale. However, this does not mean you can send off one chapter at a time as you write it. Your book should still be 100% complete before sending an editor even a chapter. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just complete.
Why should I hire an editor?
I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory, but you want your book to be good, don’t you? I’ve tried editing my own works. Trust me. You as the author can only get it to a certain level of polish before you just can’t see the errors you’re making. At this point, sending your work off to another pair of eyes can be the best thing you can do for your book. You may think your book is the best thing in the world, but if you haven’t gotten it edited every single publisher out there will tell you otherwise.
Also, forming a valuable network of team members can be so rewarding! Say you find an editor, they help you work on your book, and you successfully publish it. You now have a contact who can tell their friends about your book! The more contacts you make, the more doors open for you as an author. Who knows? Maybe this editor also works at a large publishing house but does freelance on the side? Maybe they know an agent who can help you get into a publishing house? The possibilities are endless, and networking is never bad. If none of those things happen, you end the process with a brilliantly polished book and a new friend who knows your work.
I love my editors. I don’t know where I’d be without them, and they are my ultimate fan club. It’s lovely to have people who are excited to read my next work, not only because I’m paying them and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship, but also because they just flat out enjoy reading my work. My books would not be where they are today without their valuable feedback, and I don’t know what I would do without them!
Love your editors. Pay them so they can eat. Respect your editors. Most importantly, accept their feedback. An editor is going to do you no good if you don’t implement their edits. They’re not there to hurt your feelings; they’re there to help! By implementing their changes, your work can only get better. Don’t feel bad that your book wasn’t perfect the first time around. Nothing is! Art just doesn’t work that way. Once you find an editor who you like, implement their changes, and then read your work again, you’ll be glowing with joy at the result. I know I do!