If you are like many writers, finding the right editor for your manuscript can be daunting. While I have never been in this particular situation, my clients have expressed their former apprehensions of hiring someone to work on their project, especially someone they did not know. During my consultations with them, I reassured them that anxiety was a normal part of the publishing process, but that hiring an editor was essential to perfecting their manuscript.
With today’s post, I want to provide some advice to those who are looking or will be looking for an editor for their next book. And while I will always recommend my own services—as would my clients—I understand that I may not be the best fit for your individual project. Nevertheless, there are effective ways to determine which editor is right for you. So, let’s begin!
One of the first things you want to do is to shop around. Generate a list of about five to seven editors that you have interest in working with. This can be done in many ways, but one of the first things you can do is ask other authors who they use. If you know of writers that have gone through the publication process, then using them as a reference is a great way to get what you want. You can also refer to your social media contacts to find an editor. I promote LiyahAmore Publishing on Facebook daily, and in fact, this is where I have received close to 90% of all my clients, past and present. You may be able to run into an editor in this same way, so keep an eye out.
Next, after you have generated a list of editors, visit their websites to look at their prices and the types of services they offer. There are editors who specialize more in some areas than others. This is based primarily on their past experience and the skills they have acquired either on the job or through educational training. You will want to see some of their previous work; and if it is not presented on their website (or on another online portfolio), don’t hesitate to ask them for samples. You should NEVER consider an editor who has nothing to fall back on, no matter how much they charge (which is often a low offer).
Consider your budget before you interview an editor. You need to have a realistic budget that will cover the type of service your manuscript needs. If you know that your work needs developmental editing, please stop looking for a proofreader or content editor. Remember that you want your book to be the best it can be. If, however, you have experience as a writer and know how to properly organize it, then perhaps a copy editor works best for you. The important thing is to know where your work stands in terms of editing, and save enough money to pay for the required service.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have tried to convince some clients that what they needed was not what they expected. For example, some clients only wanted proofreading but their work required developmental editing. When they refused to take my advice, the results were abysmal, and customer reviews of their work were embarrassing. So set your budget according to what you truly need. You'll thank me later.
After you have done your research and established your budget, it is now time to interview your potential editor. At this point, you want to begin thinking about the type of personality you are able to work with, and how that will help create a positive learning and working atmosphere for you both. In my case, I inform my clients that I am an honest, straight-forward editor. I don’t sugar-coat my critiques or suggestions because I know what works best in perfecting their manuscript. I tell them that these suggestions are not personal, and that what is corrected is not meant to destroy their work but rather enhance it. I can assure you: Every client that has received my advice has gone on to produce a great book, even best-sellers. That would not have been possible had they ignored my corrections.
But I realize that my personality may not fit well with everyone. I remember another former client of mine that had difficulty in receiving some of my advice. She felt that I was too hard on her work, and at one point, wanted to avoid paying me. (That’s another blog for another day.) The tension resulted in a negative business relationship; and while we may never work together again, I am glad that I stuck to what I knew best. While she was not too receptive of my personality and style of critiquing, she did take my suggestions into account and applied them to her work. Her book has received great reviews in spite of the tension we had in the editing process. The point in all that is you need to consider beforehand the kind of personality that works best for you; and don’t be afraid to ask the editors about their previous client relationships.
Once you have conducted your interviews, make a decision after you have taken a day or two to process everything. Don’t feel pressured into getting into any contract immediately; at the same time, don’t wait too long. I remember when a client wanted to continue working with me a couple of months after initially speaking with me. By the time she wanted me to do some work for her, I had already committed to another project. I had to basically tell her that she would have to wait longer to have anything done, which displeased her. Keep in mind that an editor’s business is just that: a business. And we tend to clients as we see fit.
Lastly, after you have made a selection about your editor, contact them immediately and in writing. Never rely on verbal communication to create an agreement. If for any reason there are issues that arise later, you will have everything in writing.
If you have any other suggestions on ways to find the right editor, leave a comment in the below section. And as always...
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