u Obstacles to hiring an editor u The cost of editing u When to hire an editor u Preparing to be edited u What to expect from an editor
Lenore Hietkamp academic and fiction editor www.heatherfieldediting.com [email protected]
WHEN TO HIRE AN EDITOR And what to expect when you do
Obstacles to hiring an editor Obstacle #1: Doubting the value of having your work edited u u u u u u u u
Editing can be expensive. Consider the value of your time. Consider your writing ability, your knowledge of grammar, etc. Form an honest opinion about the quality of your work. Talk to writers who’ve been edited by reputable editors. Read acknowledgement sections of your favourite books. Read the blogs of your favourite authors, who might mention working with their editor. Consider that an editor wants to make your work the best it can be.
Mutual intent “In my experience, the more fantastic and skilled and experienced the writer is, the more they love being edited and look forward to it. They know that a good editor wants the same thing that they do: for the book to be the best it can be.” -
Dinah Forbes, editor
Read more about what editors like about editing: “On the Basics: A Love of Editing” https://americaneditor.wordpress.com/ 2015/01/26/on-the-basics-a-love-of-editing/
Obstacles to hiring an editor Obstacle #2: Finding someone you trust • • •
Get recommendations. Get a sense of an editor’s level of skill. Watch for cues in communication that tell you whether this is someone you can work with. Trust your instinct. Ask for an editing sample of 3 to 5 difficult pages of your manuscript.
Skill and trust “It’s startling to have a copy editor who actually knows as much about your characters and story as you do! It’s wonderful, in a somewhat awkward way, to have someone point out that your antagonist likely wouldn’t behave in a certain way because although he’s sleazy, it would be overdoing it to have him behave as such. The character is, after all, just a figment of my imagination, so how does she know? But she does.” - Stephen Legault, from his blog http://stephenlegault.com/writing/2011/10/25/pressing-send/
When to start thinking about hiring an editor Begin looking for an editor when you begin to write your manuscript. Find out what sort of editing you will need.
u u u
Need help developing the plot? Advice on character development? u
You like your story, but feel it’s clunky? u
developmental or substantive editor. stylistic editor or a copy
You’ve already got the book designed, and you’ve notice a few errors u
Find out what it will cost, so you can be prepared.
u u u u
Budget Communicate the budget with different editors to see how they respond. You get what you pay for!
Find out how long it might take for an editor to edit your manuscript.
A couple of weeks or months is normal. Don’t expect an editor to be able to take you on immediately.
Find out what is involved in sending a manuscript to an editor. Remember that an editor can help with more than just your manuscript
u u u
bio, back cover, other marketing materila
Manuscript, bio, cover text
Hire an editor when your MS is as good as you can make it u Distracting
errors and problems slows editing
u So… u Let
friends and relatives read your manuscript. u ‘Workshop’ your manuscript by bringing it to writers’ workshops. u Learn about revising, then revise. u Maybe u To
you need an editor earlier, though:
work through plot, character problems, etc. u To critique a few chapters
Prepare your manuscript for editing DO use your software’s spell checker. u Remove all fancy formatting. u Combine all your chapters into one document. u Double-space the manuscript. u Ask the editor what software they will be using, and figure out if yours will be compatible. u Learn how to use Track Changes (web tutorials, etc.) u Remember that editors are not necessarily highly skilled in technology. u
The cost of editing u
Most editors will quote you a project fee based on word count (not page count). Some editors post their fees on their website, but others do not, preferring instead to negotiate with the author. Editors calculate copy editing by 250 words/page. Cost depends on the writing quality and what the author wants and needs. Editing fees vary quite a bit. Shop around. Some new editors may have lots of editing experience from past jobs, and may charge a lower rate when they are starting out. Be clear about your budget. Some editors will be willing to provide work that is equivalent to your budget. You get what you pay for. A basic critique or evaluation can be good value for less money.
What is an evaluation? The big picture critique u Useful feedback for revision u Includes a written report u May also include a copy edit of a few pages or a chapter u
points out recurrent errors and writing problems
How to find an editor u
Networking, then research Google the editor’s name. u Go to the websites of professional organizations to see if the editor has a profile there. u Read the editor’s website, LinkedIn profiles, etc. u Locate book reviews of the books the editor has worked on. u
Website of professional organizations, such as the local group Professional Editors Association of VI, or the Editors’ Association of Canada Ask for a sample edit of 3 to 5 pages of text to which you are most attached. Ask how much it will cost, based on Your word count u An outline of what you want done u Your timeframe u
What to expect u u u
u u u
To pay appropriately for the editor's skill and experience To have scope of editing explained To have the number of rounds defined (edits go to author is one round) To get feedback on what does and doesn't work in the MS To have the author's voice respected To have a final result that reads more clearly and consistently To be asked about preferences of style guide and dictionary u Chicago
Manual of Style u Publishing house styles u US or Canadian spelling, other rules
Copy editing example Jim ran to the front steps, his leather coat pulled tightly against him against the gale, the double doors were crossed by yellow police tape that tattered as the wind swirled in the entrance. u At the copy editing stage, it might turn into this: u Jim ran to the front steps, his leather coat pulled tightly against the gale. The tattered yellow police tape across the double doors swirled in the wind. u
“When it comes to copy editing, we’re not chopping and hacking sections of the story that don’t work; here we’re taking every second or third word that I’ve written and swapping another better word for it, or rearranging the words, or deciding if the words match the level of storytelling or not. It’s not chainsaw work; we’re now using a pruning saw, or maybe a really sharp pair of hedge clippers.” - Stephen Legault, from his blog - http://stephenlegault.com/writing/2011/10/25/ pressing-send/
Editors can also… u work
with you on developing a concept, an outline, etc. u edit a few pages, just to give you an example of ways to fix your manuscript u write the text for your concept—some editors are also writers and will ghostwrite material u prepare your manuscript—applying formatting (headings, styles, etc)—for publishing u procure images u mentor you through the process of publishing your book u design and even publish ebooks and print books (search for keywords on editor organization sites)