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Finding an Editor

pmmg

Vala
For those that use a professional editor, who did you come to find the one you use?

What do you think of them?

Where they the first one you tried?

What has your experience with been?

What do you want to have in place before you send off your work for their pay for service?
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
A couple of things worth saying here. First, there are different types of editors. What are you looking for? The common categories are developmental, copy editors, and proofreaders.

I've used the middle one on three of my projects. I used one through Reedsy. Maybe two. It's been a while. They ain't cheap.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
I assume you mean in terms of self-publishing in the UK or US?

Although I have a (Swedish) publisher I was encouraged to arrange my own editor. I asked some other authors I knew who they would recommend and they suggested my current editor. We had a discussion, she looked at some of what I'd written and then agreed to be my editor.

Yes, she was the first editor I tried.

My experience is very positive. We get on well, and we respect each others roles. I am the author, she is the editor. Her job is to help me, not to change my style. My job is to listen to her and to discuss what changes are needed to improve the writing - and then to make the changes as I see fit (which, to be honest, usually means taking her suggestions on board and then making the changes in my style). Because of my dyslexia she does a mixture of developmental and copy editing. NB My publishers sort out the proof reading, and pay for all editing and proof reading costs (that is what their cut is for, amongst other things).

The only advice I will give is for your first book to be published. Make sure it is as ready as you can make it, this will make the editing easier. For the first book, get the full developmental edit done, you will need it.
 
Step 1 is figuring out what kind of edit you need. Different editors do different things. Some might be able to do multiple things, though it's rare for an editor to be good at everything. And they'll probably charge you multiple times if you want multiple things.

Once you know what you want, then you can search for editors. I headed to google. I've heard good things about Reedsy as well. You can also ask other authors. Make sure your editor edits in your sub-genre. You don't just want a fantasy editor, you want an epic fantasy editor if that's what you write, or urban fantasy or whatever other genre.

From the ones I found I made a shortlist. Which ones looked within my price range, had professional looking websites. I checked reviews and books they worked on. Once I'd gotten to this stage I asked for a sample. This can come in two forms. Either you submit your first 500 words (or 1000 or so), and they edit them. Or they give you a sample of an edit they've done for another author (anonymized of course).

The first is usually the case if you want a copy edit type of edit. The second is more when you want a developmental edit. From this information, and the contact in general I chose my editor. And I'm happy with him. He's worked on two of my novels, and I've just sent him nr 3 to work on.

A few things I kept in mind:
- make sure to get a contract. This is a business transaction. Treat it as such. It should spell out what you are paying, and when you are paying it. (never pay the full amount up front, unless you know the editor or it's a very famous and well respected one). It should specify what you are getting in return. And when you are getting it.
- You get what you pay for (up to a certain point of course). If you pay someone for 2 days of work, then don't expect them to work for 2 weeks. If someone charges rates well below market standards, then that's a red flag. It could be they're just starting out, it could also be that they're just not very good. Of course, expensive doesn't guarantee it will be great (check what other authors said about them), but cheap usually does mean below average.
- If an editor doesn't want to reveal any previous clients, doesn't want to do a sample edit or give a sample of a developmental edit then that's a red flag. You might have to pay a small amount for a sample edit, that's fine, especially if the amount is later deducted from the full payment if they get the job. But it's perfectly acceptable to ask for a sample. You'll be handing over lots of money (a few $100 at the least). You want to make sure you're getting your money's worth.
- Lastly, remember that it will be your name on the book, not your editor's. If you disagree with a remark, or a change or suggestion, then don't follow it. Just make sure you know why you're doing it.
 
I stumbled across my editor on book-editing.com. I read through a variety of editor bios and 100% had her targeted right off the bat, although I tested out a few others. The one I expected to win didn't disappoint. Since then, I tried to save money on editing, and well... so long as I can afford my first editor, I'll stick with her, LOL. There is another big-time editor who works for the majors who also takes on indies that I would consider using, but I've feared to ask her price, heh heh.
 
I tried finding the name of a lady recommended by Sanderson's agent last night, but couldn't. I had her information years ago and pretty much forgot about her. Hopefully, I still might have her contact info on my computer at home. If she's still working with indie I'd be curious to find out her rates.
 

Ned Marcus

Inkling
I found an editor I liked on Reedsy. Added to the cost, but she had experience with a top publisher, which was something I wanted. I tried editors I came across via FB recommendations (I recommend not using FB for this) and had some bizarre sample edits.
 

Ankari

Hero Breaker
Moderator
I’ve currently submitted my novel to Tim Marquitz from Dominion Editorial. I’ll update everyone with my feedback. Their rates seem reasonable. $700 for copy and content editing for 100K words or less.
 

pmmg

Vala
Thanks all. Keeping this one in reserve. Will be looking at the suggestions very soon.
 

pmmg

Vala
- Lastly, remember that it will be your name on the book, not your editor's. If you disagree with a remark, or a change or suggestion, then don't follow it. Just make sure you know why you're doing it.

I think my biggest fear is they wont like the content. But, I expect a professional effort. We'll see.
 
I think my biggest fear is they wont like the content. But, I expect a professional effort. We'll see.
Submitting your work to someone for the first time is pretty scary, especially to a professional. It gets easier as you go along.

My advice would be to just do it. What's the worst that could happen? If they didn't like it (and they are professional) then they'll explain why and you will have learned something. I think that's unlikely though. They may have read better writing (I know for my own writing that's definitely the case), but their job is to make your writing better. If it was perfect then there would be no need for an editor.

Personally I think you'll actually find the opposite. I know I did. When reading back my own writing after a while I was actually pleased with how well it read. And reading it after the edit it actually read like a real novel, not just something I'd trown together as a hobby.

The only way to find out though how good your writing is, is to put it out there. Only readers can judge your writing.
 
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