As I have promised you in my most recent blog post about beta readers, we are going to look at Editors in this post. As usual I am going to tell you what I did and then tell you what I should have done. I’ll also explain a bit about different kinds of editors and give you a few sources about how to find them and what to watch out for.
Ready? Yes? Let’s begin.
When I wrote my first Book “Sra’kalor“, it was quite an adventure. It was my very first book that I’ve finished, and also the very first book I wrote in English. Since it’s my second language I’m naturally making mistakes. That just means I’ll have to learn more, but until then I definitely need someone to check what I write for grammar, spelling, possible misuse of words and so on. I went through my book four times until I couldn’t find anything wrong with it any more. Believing it was great, I sent it to my partner and he checked once more. He found a bunch of things that could be improved and a pile of spelling and grammar mistakes. I fixed these as well believed to be done, because we had worked a lot and hard on it. So I published the book and began to send it to reviewers, bloggers and the like.
In the coming weeks I received reviews that mentioned grammar and spelling mistakes, that the language sounded as if English wasn’t my first language, that it sounded too formal and some words were misused. You can possibly imagine the punch I felt in my stomach. For a while I even thought I should stop writing if it is that bad, but thanks to some encouraging friends that feeling didn’t last long and I decided to want to improve instead of giving up – yay me. One of my friends has an editor in their family and connected us. I sent my book to her, she took the time and effort to edit it and did not only mark the parts that were wrong, but also explained to me why. That helped tremendously. So I revised the book and feel much better with it now.
No matter how well you write, how much you work on your book, how many mistakes you find and correct, having an editor go through it for you and bring the best out of it is very important. That is something that I absolutely underestimated in the beginning but have learned until now. And if you work with Beta readers – as mentioned in the previous post – you would first write and edit as much as you possibly can and then send your work to your beta readers and after they took it apart and helped you to make it even better it’s the editor’s turn. Not the other way around.
What would an editor do for you? That depends on the kind of editor.
- Content editors/developmental editors – They check your book for structure, plot holes, parts that go too slow, others that go too fast, inconsistencies (what we call goofs in movies) and so on. It might happen that they change something in your story to make it flow better, change the way you wrote sentences or whole scenes. They work directly with the content of the story and help authors to find their writing voice.
- Copy editors – These make sure your book has a high readability, that it’s written smooth and has a consistent style all over.
- Line Editors – They focus on grammar, spelling, punctuation, verb tenses and so on. You know all these little things that we do not see any more because we know our story and our brain reads them correctly even though they are misspelled.
- Copy and Line editors are often one person nowadays but sometimes they are still different people. And you might even find someone who does all of the above but not that often.
- Proofreaders. After all editors went all through your work and you made sure to fix mistakes and rewrite what needs to be rewritten, proofreaders go through the book again and find all the little things that everyone else missed. Yes that can happen. Editors are humans, you are human, so mistakes happen. Even the most famous works still have mistakes here and there, but imagine them without going through all that editing work.
How to find editors?
Since I did not have to find an editor, thanks to my friend, I have done a little research about where to find editors.
- “Where do you find an editor?” A goodreads group discussion. Several editors actually replied in this thread to offer their services, other answers linked to websites or people directly.
- “Need an affordable editor?” Another goodreads group discussion in which several editors offer their services.
- “Are you an Editor / Proofreader?” And another goodreads group discussion
“Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA)” To quote the website: “EFA members are editors, writers, indexers, proofreaders, researchers, desktop publishers, translators, and others who offer a broad range of skills and specialties.”
- “Publishers Marketplace” Editors and other publishing professionals are advertising their services here, have a look.
- “Best book editors on twitter” This is a long list of editors on twitter
- “Mediabistro” Here you can find and hire freelancers, among others editors.
What to watch out for when choosing an editor
- What kind of editor are they?
- Do they work in your genre? That is especially important for content editors. You wouldn’t want a magazine column content editor to edit your romance novel. These are completely different genres and styles. If it only is about spelling and grammar, the genre that editor worked in might not be that important.
- What is their experience? Who have they worked with?
- Do they offer a trial page or chapter so you can see their style?
- Do you click? You work closely with your editor if you can’t stand each other it’ll make it difficult.
- What is their rate? Editors are not cheap. Even those with affordable prices might be out of your budget. So check how much you have to pay and how much you can pay.
- How many authors do they work with at the same time? Do they have the time for your book it deserves?
- Remember not every editor might be the right one for you. You might have to kiss many frogs… wait wrong subject. You might have to try out several editors before finding ‘the one’.
These lists are by far not complete, but do a google search for editors and you’ll find a ton of results. Not only editor pages but also articles about how to find them, what to watch out for, questions you should ask yourself and so on.
Two of these sites are
- “Help! I need a book editor” You can find some explanations, more links to editor resources and articles to related subjects.
- “5 ways to find the right freelance book editor” This article will give you a few tips on how to find the editor you need including questions you can ask a potential editor to find out if they are a fit
There is so much more but this article has been too long already. If you managed to stay with me until now – Congratulations you are a patient human being! And thank you for sticking with me.
Do you have any more invaluable tips and tricks when it comes to editors? Where did you find yours? What experiences do you have with your editor and did your first find end up to be ‘the one’? What did you do when your choice wasn’t the right one? Please share your stories with us in the comment box below! Until next time and stay creative!