The opportunity to bring an author’s book to the next level is an exciting journey for both the author and the editor they hire. Smart authors know that, while they may have worked on a manuscript for years, there’s no way they can identify the minor (and sometimes major) issues that come to light to an editing professional.
However, there are important elements that I always ensure my authors understand. First off, there’s a difference between wanting to just publish your book, and the desire to learn how to be a better writer. A good editor should not only fix things, but also teach you how to fix them. You’ll get the most out of your investment by learning from the process. The other thing; don’t be shy about telling the editor your expectations and intentions for your book, and what you want it to accomplish. How do you want the reader to think and feel when they reach that last page?
5 Myths and Truths That Are Important for Hiring an Editor
Truth #1: Avoid the Temptation to Hire Someone to Edit your First Draft
You’ve finally finished your book, shouts of joy all around! Celebrate it. Now, set it aside for two weeks. Let it be. Don’t touch it, and try not to think about it!
When you re-read it, there’s no doubt that you will take it to the next level on your own. Make notes of the strengths and weaknesses, ask what’s missing, flag inconsistencies, and highlight where you get bored or find yourself skimming. You should do at least two to three revisions on your own before hiring a professional editor. Do not bring in a professional until you have made the book the best you possibly can on your own.
When you’ve taken it as far as you can on your own, THAT is when you will get the most for your money in hiring an editor. Which brings me to the next point…
Truth #2: Shop Around to Find the Right Editor for You, and Your Genre
Before you hire an editor, you need to know what type of editorial assistance you actually need. In order to do this, identify the major problems that you see within your book and start from there. Ask editors for references, a sample edit, and see what they specialize in.
Do you need proofreading, copyediting, or a developmental edit. Find out which type you need by taking a deeper look into the different options here. Copyediting is one of the most popular types of editing. It is usually chosen for authors who know they don’t want major structural or content changes, and just want the story tightened and cleaned up.
Besides finding an editor that can help with your specific needs, it’s often beneficial to use an editor that is familiar with the conventions of what you write. If you’re writing a memoir about your life as a doctor, it may be suitable to use an editor that has experience with medical industry terms. If you’re genre is romantic fiction, an editor that specializes in murder thrillers might not get too excited about your project. You want your editor to be excited about your manuscript, because then you know they will make it the best it can be.
Truth #3: It’s the Editor’s Job to Help “Kill Your Darlings”
Your book is your passion, your baby. You’re writing it because you have something to say, or an experience or wisdom to share. The editor is your partner in that journey to get your message out into society in the most effective, interesting way possible.
While an editor’s job is to make your book as pro