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Observations on Choosing an Editor

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by BWFoster78, May 18, 2015.

  1. cupiscent

    cupiscent Sage

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    I haven't been following this thread, but a blog post on choosing editors just came up on my feed, and I thought it might be of use to this conversation or others in this situation: Picking Editors: what kind do we need?. Also contains notes on how to maximise value and what to look for with different types of edits.
     
    Russ likes this.
  2. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Today is the four year anniversary of my beginning work on my novel.

    Today, I sent the completed 5th draft to my editor.

    I'll keep everyone informed as to the progress, but my plan is to take the next two weeks to work on another project (other than revising Chapter 1 based on the edits already received, anyway.).
     
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  3. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Update: I fired my first choice of editor. I'd given her a couple of days extension of the original deadline but stuck firm to needing at least a partial edit by a full week after that deadline. She grew unresponsive, and, eventually, I had to fire her. Luckily, one of my other top original choice was available immediately and is giving me chapters as she edits them.

    Lesson Learned:

    Future contracts will stipulate that the editor provides me with the chapters on an ongoing basis. Waiting to send me everything at once is for the birds. I have no idea if she actually did anything or not. Besides, by sending me a few chapters at a time, I can save the editor effort. By responding and saying, "Hey, while I respect your opinion, I'm not making these particular kinds of changes," the editor doesn't have to spend time marking those types of changes up any more.

    On the Price of Editing:

    I've read a lot of opinions since first posting on this subject. It seems like there are three categories of people on this subject:

    Cat A - Professionals and publishers willing to pay top dollar for editing. Editors used by these people would have charged me somewhere between $4000 and tens of thousands to copy edit my book.

    Cat B - Indies who value editors but who can't justify the kind of expense paid by the Cat A'ers. This category would pay around $1000 or so for a content edit of a book like mine and about half that for a copy edit.

    Cat C - Those who just don't see the value in editing at all.

    I, obviously, fall into Cat B at the moment, but I don't have enough knowledge or experience at this point to say which of these three categories is the "right" one. My thinking at the moment is that none of them are "right." I think it's more of a situational kind of thing - what is right for the author at the moment? Seems like you could come up with reasonable scenarios that would make any of the three correct.
     
  4. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Sorry your first one did not work out. Best of luck with the next one.
     
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  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I learned something valuable from the experience, so it's all good.
     
  6. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Sorry to hear it fell through. You spent a lot of effort on that venture. I'm glad the second editor is getting things done to your satisfaction though.

    I agree with you about the categories. I'm in the same one as you. I see the value in editing, but I've put in a lot of work and think when I send my book off to an editor, it's already 95% where I want it to be. I'm not sure what I call 5% of editing is worth more than $1000, but I'm not about to not cover my backside either. I want a pair of eyes in the business to have a look and make certain I've got the goods before I hit Publish.

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Hopefully future self-pubbers here will be able to use this experience as a reference when coming up against tough choices as well.
     
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  7. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Exactly!

    I'd much rather spend a little extra cash than end up looking like an idiot (or more of an idiot :) ).

    I could see, however, getting to a point where I felt comfortable enough with my writing that the copy edit wasn't a value add. On the other hand, maybe, at that point, I'd consider it worth the cost in terms of adding efficiency to my process.

    It's hard to imagine a time, however, when I'm willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars per edit, but I look forward to a day when I have the option.
     
    Russ likes this.
  8. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Yeah, I've spent a ton of time on my WiP and I'm pretty happy with it al. I love the characters, the story, and I've worked out all the plot stickiness. However, I see the value in an editor telling me things like, "You could increase this tension by..." or "this section drags because of..."

    I think I'm with you on this one. My professional freelance editor was going to cost me a grand and I was willing ot pay it. I haven't contacted her, because I want the work to shine before it sees her inbox, but i've gotten so stuck with my beginning and ending, trying to make them the best they can be, and I've just one off track. Bad.

    The thing is, none of my crit partners are published or have worked with editors, so they can't answer my specific questions about what's the best way to open, or what specific little things should be tweaked to better connect with readers. They've done a fine job, no question, but they all want to leave the answers up to me, and I saw an editor as sort of the final say (because they work with so many books and help them get published) on which changes to make and which to not worry about. A lot of that comes because certain people have given me feedback that directly contrasts with each other. One person will say they love a character and his mysterious nature and the really get him, and another will say they don't connect because they don't understand his motivation. I'm just not sure which way to go in cases like those. My crit partners are awesome, but when a few disagree and I have a few on each side of the debate...I'm just not sure what to do. This goes for folks in other genres from my work, as well as folks who read this genre. SOme like it one way, others like it another, and i'm stuck in the middle with pen in hand, just trying to please them all, but failing whichever decision I make. So...an editor is someone I need to trust to get my work to please MOST people, because I'm clearly not competent (or confident) enough at this point to do it all.

    Best wishes. I sincerely hope this works out for you, and you know, we've not had the best history, often standing on oppsing sides of the writing theory lines, but everything you're saying resonates so fully with me, maybe we ought to give trading another try. I'm down if you are. After your edit, if you want another beta to give it a once-over, I'd be more than willing to trade books and see what we think. I don't believe a writer needs to be similar in execution and tone to give impartial feedback, merely to understand their partner's goals. Would that be useful to you, if you told me your goals and i gave a read with those foals in mind? You say you struggle a lot with character and that's sort of one of my really strong skills. I struggle with pacing and info reveals, because I'm writing a sort of subtle story and I need to know whether it's too much or whether people get it when I foreshadow or hint at stuff, or whether I should just be blatant (which I feel is punching them in the face with the information).

    Anyways, I'm always here, and I am 100% behind you, no matter what you do, but if I can be helpful, I'd love to trade again and see whether we might use our unique strengths to each other's benefit.
     
    Russ likes this.
  9. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Who the heck charges ten grand or more? My wife's editor (and mine in due time) is top notch and she is not charging anywhere near ten grand?

     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2015
  10. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Russ,

    I was told that the low end for a copy edit of my 120k book should run $4000. I've also been told that a content edit can run roughly twice that of a copy edit. Therefore, bump that first number up a little to get to the high end, and you've got more than $10k.

    Beats me.

    Thanks.

    Brian
     
  11. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I don't think I really approach crit advice like that at all. That's almost like "majority rules."

    Instead, I consider what everyone has said, sleep on it and think on it a lot, and make a decision solely on what I think is best. Every word that is in my book is there because it was the best word I could find at the time, not because someone else thought it was a better word than what I used.

    Definitely. You know, after reading what you wrote here, I took another look at something you critted for me. Your comments resonated with me a lot more now than I think they did a couple of years ago. I've grown a lot as an author since then. Probably, I just wasn't ready for your comments then.

    While I'd definitely love to do some crit exchanging, I'm not sure Rise is the best opportunity. I'm at the point on this one where I need to just put it out in the world and see what happens. Then move on to the next book. My plan is, except for correcting obvious mistakes, to make the post editor version the last version.

    Thanks! If you have anything you want me to look over, feel free to sent it over in early August. My writing/editing schedule for July is so, so booked, but I'll have time to read it around the first of next month. Maybe you could read my next novel when it reaches beta reading stage?

    My plan is to have Repulsive, a 60k to 70k superhero novel, ready to send to a content editor early next year. So late winter/early spring, I'm going to need beta readers. Sound good?

    Thanks again!

    Brian
     
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  12. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    You know, I'm glad you looked that crit over again. I've been very interested in your recent posts because where once we didn't have a lot in common as writers, it looks like we're in a very similar situation now.

    I'm happy to read anything you want, I just felt like the help you most were looking for aligns with my strengths, and you seem to have a theory about editing so similar to my own right now. I just wanted to offer, since you're obviously striving toward the same goal I am, so why not? HA!

    Also, I'm happy to read anything. Just know that I'm not a comic reader, nor have I ever really been drawn to super heroes. So I might miss jokes or what have you (like a crit partner I'm trading with now who writes spoofy sci-fi and I often find myself not "getting" his jokes, but I still do as thorough a crit as I can for him and he just takes it into account, that I don't know anything about the original Star Trek or whatever. I'd say that when you're ready for a beta with your next work, I'm happy to give it a go. I might not be the target audience, but I've got a lot of tools in my arsenal and I'm certainly willing to give it my best shot.

    I'd be happy to contact you again in August. I'm moving the end of July/ beginning of August, so I'm not in a hurry.
     
  13. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I'm turning Abuse of Power into a novella and publishing it on Amazon. I'm going to be soliciting beta readers for that in a couple/few weeks. Not sure if you'd be interested in looking at that one again, though ...

    If I had to choose, I'd rather line you up for Repulsive. If you're interested in both, though ... :)

    Here's the basic story, if your interested (please don't crit the portion below as a pitch, though - just something I put together to summarize the story; needs lots of work):

    Note: I’m not sure of the Love Interest’s name yet, thus I refer to her as LI. Nor is Super Awesome Mega Man going to be the name for that hero.

    Zack Zukowski knows everything publically released about all thirty real superheroes created since Dr. Acid first appeared a decade ago. How great it would be to become one of them. The power. The money. The girls … A girl, anyway—LI.

    He’s so far into the friend zone that LI’s even tried to set him up, and given the attractiveness of the girl she chose, LI doesn’t think much of his prospects. Yes, becoming a superhero would change all that. And he’s got a shot. His initials, after all, are alliterative, and he’s the right age and is a classic underdog.

    When he becomes Repulsor, however, he finds that the reality isn’t quite what he imagined. First of all, his powers make it painful to even look at him. Talk about a kick in the gut. And when he introduces LI to Super Awesome Mega Man, she starts dating the world’s most popular, and handsome, hero.

    Worse, the villains have teamed up, and heroes have been dying. Not only is the balance of power totally out of whack, it’s apparent that the heroes have a traitor in their midst. It’s up to Zack to figure out who it is, capture enough of the bad guys to restore balance, and not get killed.
     
  14. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I'm happy to offer feedback on anything you'd like. I've got a pile of work I'm rewriting, so I'd be interested in story-development critique in return, so it sounds like we'll be focusing on the same kinds of things for a while.
     
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  15. angelleaping

    angelleaping Dreamer

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    OMG... finding an editor sounds like creeping through a mine field. Where do you start?

    thanks ..grace
     
  16. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I suggest the first thing you do is figure out your budget. That will narrow the choices for you.
     
  17. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I agree completely. There are a ton of "editors" out there who really have no clue what they're talking about. Others are knowledgeable but might not be a good fit to work with you.

    Are you looking for developmental editing or copy editing?
     
  18. A.J.

    A.J. Dreamer

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    As with most things to be done after your writing is finished, I seek info from my social circles. Go to writers you follow and ask who they've used. MOST will gladly respond. Make a list a whittle down. A lot of self published and indy writers have some great go-to editors. Best way to find quality for a low price.
     
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