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how to choose the right editor

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So, You Want to Write a Book Part III: Editing

Welcome back! Last week we went over the importance of beta readers in the writing journey. This week we are going to start talking about editing. You have received the needed feedback from your beta readers and input any necessary changes and are now ready for the next step — finding an editor.

So, You Want to Write a Book – Part III

Where to look?

Over the past few years, I have scrounged up a few favorite places to look for an editor. I am a firm believer in these because it helps me narrow down editors to those familiar with the style of writing I’m going for and the genre I write in.

  • Freelance Websites - Sites such as Upwork allow you to search certain parameters. You can filter based on search words, hourly rate, job success and more. It’s also nice to do all the work through a website to keep everyone accountable. This is where I found my last editor and he was great!
  • Join a Group – I am a part of a few different author groups on Facebook. I love them all for different reasons. One of them provides files with lists of recommended bloggers, book cover designers and you guessed it, editors! The file provides a website link for the editor that makes it easy to learn more about them and contact them.
  • Read Any Good Books Lately? – This is one of the best places to find an editor that does the kind of work you’re looking for. If you’re reading a book and you love everything about it, reach out to the author and ask them who their editor was. Most are willing to share!

Narrowing Down Your List of Editors

Choosing the right editor for your work of art can be overwhelming, but the above techniques are a great place to start. Your goal is to narrow your list down to about 3-5 editors and, with these tips, doing so is easier than you think. Once you start looking at editors, you can really get to know them by their website and their social media. Here you’ll be able to see the types of novels they’ve worked on and who they are as a person.

You are going to be spending the next few months working very closely with your editor, so one thing to remember is that the connection between the two of you must be there. You have to jive. If you just aren’t feeling their persona, you can check them off the list. Trust me! Your novel wouldn’t benefit from the best editor in the world if you can’t stand them. You’re most likely to reject their feedback or disagree with where they want you to go with your edits.

Another way to narrow down your list is by asking them questions. Here’s a few examples below:

  • What type of editing style are you most familiar with (Chicago Style, AP Style, etc.)
  • How long will the turnaround time be on a novel like mine?
  • Do you charge by hour or by project? What is your going rate?
  • Could you provide me with references?
  • How many novels in my genre have you edited?
  • What type of editing do you do? — We’ll get to that later!

 How to Choose “The One?”

After all of your research, you now have a list of 3-5 editors that you love. The next step would be to have them edit a small sample of your manuscript. Some will offer to edit a chapter or two while others will offer to edit a certain number of words. The turn around time should be quick, no more than a week’s time.

Once you have your sample edits back, grab a glass of wine and reserve a night to read them over. This is the part I wish I could pinpoint for you, but the truth is, when you’re reading through the sample edits, you’ll just know who the right one is. Their editing will be on par, their vision for your story will be cohesive with yours and by the time you’re done, you’ll feel as if your book is better already. When that happens, you’ve found the one.

Types of Edits

The type of editing you need will be up to you and your editor. There is no right or wrong here, just what you prefer and think your manuscript truly needs. I have always had my editors do a substantive edit to start. It has made a world of difference in the final product.

Substantive Edit – This type of editing looks at your story as a whole and identifies any characters or parts of the story line that lack development. The feedback I received during this round of edits on all of my novels have truly changed them for the better. For example, Holding on to Georgia didn’t even have a tree swing when I sent the manuscript off to my editor the first time. It was something I created after the fact and now it’s a huge part of Kade’s story in the book!

Line Editing – This is a great technique for those who struggle with showing not telling. Is the sun setting or is the fiery reflection from the water glistening in his eyes as the day disappears.

Copy Editing – This is where you’ll clear out all the cobwebs. From grammar errors and run on sentences to repetition and fact checking. This is where they make sure our main character’s eyes are always blue and that you haven’t messed up your their, there and they’re.

Phew! We got through the editing portion of the series. I know it’s a lot, but it is such an important piece of the book writing puzzle. I hope you feel much better about the path to finding your person.

Next week in Part IV of this series, I am going to be talking book covers and book blurbs. Stay tuned as I reveal the mastermind behind all my book covers, how in the world to sum up your book in one paragraph and the inspiration behind the ideas of all three of my book covers. Subscribe now so you don’t miss it!