6 Tips on How to Choose an Editor
What’s up Story Maestros!
I know, I know, you have to choose an editor and it’s already draining. But I have news for you, it doesn’t have to be. Choosing an editor is not based on who has the best prices, it’s about the editor being equipped with the skills to edit your manuscript based on your requests. I know you’ve read a blog that goes on and on about getting an editor before you publish, but did they mention how to accomplish this task? Probably not. But don’t fret! I’m here to help. In this blog, I am going to help you in the processing of choosing an editor that would best fit you, so let’s get right into it!
6 Tips for Choosing an Editor
1. Make a list of your expectations.
Funny, many people do not have a good idea of the differences in the types of editing that are provided. Start by making a list of what you want and need from your editor. This way when you get in contact with the editor you will be fully prepared for the conversation of necessities. At this point, they can tell you whether your requests are a part of their service package or not. Some may charge extra for things like formatting and typesetting, simply because that is an entirely different service than what they provide, and it will take additional time to accomplish in between editing.
2. Do your research.
For starters, when you finally decide to take the leap of hiring an editor, do your research. This means to research everything from the type of editing you need to the cost of the actual edit. Everything will play into one another, because on average a copyedit will cost about $0.02 per word, whereas a developmental edit can start at $0.03 per word. The type of editing comes at a different cost along with different services and experience. When you hire a proofreader, they will more than likely look for nothing more than grammatical errors and punctuation, unlike a line edit where you can expect the editor to hone readability and sentence structure.
3. Create a budget.
Now that you have done your research on types of editing and their costs, calculate your budget. You may have already set a budget, (you’re two steps ahead); nonetheless, if you haven’t, now is a great time to start. This will give you perspective on what to expect as far as your book publishing expenses. If you are confident in your own editing skills, still plan for an editor to review it at least once, even if it’s just for a proofread. A lot of indie authors are balling on a budget, and that’s okay, this is the reason for budgeting and planning.
4. Decide on the type of edit your manuscript needs.
Now that you have done your research on types of editing, cost, and creating a budget, you now can choose the type of edit you will need. A traditionally published author may want nothing more than a copyedit for a 50k word manuscript, to prepare it for a literary agent, in comparison to the indie author, who may require a developmental edit, copyedit, and proofread. Determine which you believe will put you on a road to success, in addition to, recognizing what your manuscript needs, usually your beta reader can help you to identify these needs. If you are looking to save money, it would be best to hire a proofreader for your last round of edits because proofreads typically cost less - around $0.01 on average.
5. Scout out editors.
Do not choose the first editor that gives you a quote of $150. Granted some editors are just starting out and may give you a deal, but consider that they may not have a niche for editing your book genre. This part is easy since it is largely based on the first 4 steps. You know the cost, the type of edit, and your genre, now to decide which editors fit that criteria. Some editors will offer you a sample edit of about 3000 words, give or take. That is roughly, 12+ pages. Take them up on this offer because it will help you to gauge the type of editor they will be, in addition to, if they are a good fit for you. Pay attention to how they provide their edits and compare it to what you expect to see in your edited draft. Try to narrow your line up down to about 3 potential editors. It will lessen the stress.
6. Choose your editor
After you have looked through all your quotes, received a sample edit, and took the time to discuss a plan of action with your potential hirers, choose your editor. It is best to choose them based on their niche, your budget, time frame, and your overall liking for them. I do believe compatibility matters. Believe it or not, some people do not get along with their editors. I am not sure if it is due to lack of openness on either side, or if the author had no idea of what they were getting themselves into, but make sure your both are on the same page.
And finally, come to an agreement with your contract. Now that you have decided on your editor, sign a contract that will take into account all of your requests and the actual services that will be provided. Contracts are not just for the service provider, they are to protect the consumer as well. Once you receive the contract, make sure it highlights all services that will be provided and the cost of the service. Be sure to look over if there are any mandatory deposits or payments prior to, during, and after service. Some editors will not release your edited manuscript unless paid in full.
Also, if you are still unsure of your editor, but you are at the point of signing them, sign a contract for only a certain amount of words. Maybe you want them to only edit the first 5 chapters. This will give you a more wholesome idea of what to expect from said editor. From there you can officially determine whether or not you would like to continue service. Keep in mind, switching editors can be a good and bad thing. You may leave a good editor for a bad one, or the new editor may have an entirely different style of editing from the previous editor. Thus, creating a difference in the way the story reads depending on the edit. And in general, you will have to restart the entire process of searching for an editor.
I hope these tips are beneficial in your search for an editor. Just remember to make a list of your expectations, because no one likes shopping on Prada and getting and item that looks like it was made on Wish. Do your research, just so that your are not caught by surprise with all of the options. Create your budget, especially if your plan on self-publishing. Determine the type of edit you need because you may be able to perform at least one of the edits yourself, I’ll talk about that in a future post. Scout out editors because there are frauds and some just will not mesh with you. Choose your editor, the entire point of this blog. And sign a contract you agree with, do not go into this blindly. This is your hard-earned money you are spending. Do not give it to a person that doesn’t care about your work almost as much as you do.