So this week, I thought I would talk about what you need to do go about finding an editor for your manuscript….if you even need one.
The best place to start is with the question: Do you even need an editor?
Aaaaaaaaaaaand you can answer that with another question: how do you want to be published?
If you want to go the traditional route: you don’t really need one. The publishing house will supply their own editor for you to work with. But there are other editors that can help you out if you are just starting out (these are Developmental Editors – more on that later) before you get to the point of trying to query with an agent and therefore a publishing house. But to be honest, if you find have enough beta readers, you can avoid hiring developmental editors if you’re on a budget. Good betas can help iron out those difficult plot points (I even had some that really helped on grammar). If you want more information on Betas, check out my previous posts on the subject:
How to Organize Your Beta Notes
But if you want to go the self-pub route – you need an editor (maybe two). If there is something you should pay money for: it’s an editor. Though I will add a note and say that if you’re starting out and have a really tight budget, get tons and tons and TONS of betas to help you clean up your work for publishing. But if you can afford an editor, I recommend it.
So where do you find one?
Well, you can do what I did and stalk some of your favorite indie authors. Most will either mention the editor in their books or (if they are bloggers/YouTubers) they’ll dedicate an episode or post on the subject and make their own suggestions.
You can do a google search yourself, but you will suddenly start seeing words that will make you scratch your head: Developmental, Line, Copy, and Proofreading editing? What do you need and what do each cost and what the hell does it all even mean?
Developmental Editing: I mentioned before that if you are new to the whole writing-a-story scene, contacting a developmental editor may not be a bad idea. They will look at your story’s big picture and the overall structure of your plot and characters. Developmental editors will either work with an idea, an outline, or early drafts and literally tell the author what works and what doesn’t. A lot of these folks have been in the industry as agents or editors and/or they are published authors. Either way, they have quite a bit experience and can be helpful. But if this type of editor is not in your budget, never fear….have you heard about Beta readers? You can also go onto writing forums and look for a critique partner. They are usually other writers and may be in a similar stage of writing as you are so you can learn together while you cheer each other on. In reality, it’s great to have people with whom you can bounce around ideas.
Line Editing: These editors literally go line by line and work on polishing the arrangement of words and phrases to make pretty sentences.
Copyediting: These folks correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. They also work on making sure there is an internal consistency of facts, capitalization, hyphenation, numerals, and you know what? Sometimes a copy editor and line editor are one and the same. But some editors like to make a distinction.
Proofreading: This is the final check before publication in order to catch missed typos, missing words, repeated words, formatting problems, etc. This should be done at the very end.
Now that you’ve mulled over these descriptions and you have an idea of what you want or need, then you might start to panic: do I need a separate editor for each step?
A lot of editors will offer package services, most offer a joint package: Developmental with Line/Copy Editing. Some will offer a further package and do an extra Proofreading round for an extra fee (or you get really lucky and it’s included). In other words: there are options. But you have to have the patience to sift through all of them and make a decision who would work best for you. Some offer to edit a small sample of your work to see if you are even compatible. Take that opportunity! If you’re unsure, just seeing how they handle your work can be a make or break decision. Do it.
All right, now here is a list of editing services I have compiled and happy hunting!
Tune in next week where I touch on some other tools to use when you want to hunt for an agent!
Bis nächste Woche!
- The Editorial Freelancers Association
- The Association of Editors, Proofreaders, and Indexers
- Society for Editors and Proofreaders
- The Up Work
- The Servicescape
- Ebook Launch
- The Author Packages
In the meantime, if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook – you probably already know this. My novel is a space opera called The God Queen. It’s currently with its editor – but in the months leading up to its release, I plan on giving you guys little peeks… If you want a behind the scenes peek, then sign up for my newsletter! Just click the subscribe button below!