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Working With an Editor – Tips and Tricks to Maximize Success

Working with an editor: Tips and tricks to maximize success

On your publishing path, you will inevitably work with an editor (and if you don’t, we recommend you do). Having been on both sides of the equation, we’ve assembled our best tips for hiring and working with an editor.

Why Hire an Editor

Working with an editor: Use your author network to vet potential editorsFor those who are looking to take their manuscript and publishing career seriously, an editor is non-negotiable in our view. Editors do everything from make sure your story flows, to finding your split infinitives, to checking for periods and more. At a minimum, you should hire a line editor for your manuscript. We’ve written and published thirteen books so far, and we still outsource line editing. It’s just that important.

Covering Your Ass…umptions

Up front, we want to offer a Buyer Beware. There are lots of folks out there who offer editing services for varying prices. Before putting down any money, make sure you’ve done your homework. Get recommendations from your fellow authors (find them in genre-based Facebook Support Groups). Ask your prospective editor if they’d be willing to do a sample test run.

You also want to be careful about how much you pay. A 100k word manuscript single edit shouldn’t cost you thousands of dollars (although if you’re getting multiple rounds, it might). Make sure to get a few quotes until you find someone you can work with at a fair price.

If you’re concerned about plunking down a lot of money, you can set up a contract outlining expectations, timeline, and payment options. Some editors require 50% up front, and the rest upon delivery, and some expect it all up front. Do what feels right for your budget, and always err on the side of keeping your money.

What To Deliver

Working with editors: Deliver your best work to your editor. Why pay for someone to fix what you already know is wrong?Your editor should receive your very best work. This may seem counterintuitive–if they’re going to fix it anyway, why not give them mediocre work? Think of it this way: you’re paying them to bring your book to a higher level. Why would you waste your money and have them flag things you could’ve fixed yourself? Take the time to make sure the manuscript is clean of large errors and comments.

Depending on the type of editing, you may deliver the manuscript in one file or break it into chunks. For line editing and other non-subjective review, we prefer to get it in one go and send edits back. For content editing, we’ve found success with fifty-page chunks, especially if the manuscript needs more work.

Disagreements Happen. Communication is Key.

A good editor will always make you feel like you’re in control. But sometimes, you may disagree with their edit. And that’s all right! As we talked about a few weeks ago, getting feedback is a balance. Your editor understands that some of their notes may be disregarded. However, make sure to let them know, especially if working back and forth, that you’ve decided to go a different direction. It will help them adjust fire on their notes, and keep frustration to a minimum.

You also want to make sure to keep an open dialogue on timelines and expectations, and include lag time on your publishing schedule if there’s a delay. Editors are human, after all.

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The Importance of Editing For Self-Published Authors

Why is editing so important for self-published authors? Find out in the blog today

Welcome to the first in our next blog series, focusing on the magic of editing. We at SGR-P are both providers of editorial services and accepters of it. For the next few weeks, we’ll talk about different editorial topics, from self-editing to finding your betas. We hope that it helps shine some light on this subject, and convinces you why editing for self-published authors isn’t something to be ignored.

What is Editing

Editing for self-published authors: Depending on your writing style, editing can happen at any time in the drafting process.Let’s start at the beginning (the very best place to start…). When we talk about editing, we are talking about a multitude of different steps in the publication process.

There are several kinds of editing out there:

  • Content editing is the process of looking at your story from a 10,000 foot view, and providing feedback. Generally, your content editor doesn’t help with typos or line edits (although they can point out clunky phrases). They will point out inconsistencies in characters and plotholes.
  • Line editing takes your 10,000 foot view and drops it down to a 100 foot view. Your line editor may blend with a copy editor to find typos and grammatical errors.
  • Copy editing goes even further to a 10 foot view, focusing solely on the grammar and typos
  • Quality Assurance (QA) editing is the final review for typos and errors that the previous three editing processes missed.

Depending on your drafting style, it can happen as you write, or it can happen in one big chunk (or both). Where and when you need to outsource depends on your own comfort zone.

The Publishing Process

For our alter-ego, S. Usher Evans, she follows the same basic process:

  • Step 1: Finish a “first draft.” Sush likes to self-edit along the way, so it takes her a little longer to get those first 75,000 words down. Generally 3ish months.
  • Step 2: Let it sit for a week, then read on the Kindle. This is another self-edit, where she rips her manuscript apart with the ferocity of the most persnickety reader, versus the persnickety eye of a writer.
  • Step 3: After repeating Step 2 once or twice, the manuscript is released to her beta readers. These lovely loves are readers and other authors who provide an outside perspective to the story. After incorporating those edits once more, it gets another view on the Kindle.
  • Step 5: The manuscript gets shipped off to the incredible Danielle Fine, who has been our go-to external editor for 11 of our 13 books. She rips it apart, as she does.
  • Step 6: Once Dani’s edits are incorporated, it’s time for the first printed proof. One more read with an actual red pen.
  • Step 7: The final step is to ship the nearly-complete manuscript to our bevy of QA readers, who have a keen eye for typos and formatting errors.
  • Step 8: The book is ready for preorder!

Why Is Editing So Important?

You might be asking yourself why should you go through all this trouble. You’re a pretty godo editor, your good at finding typos and whatnot.

For self published authors, it's important to remember nobody is perfect. Good editing will help reduce mistakes.Did you find the typos in the previous sentence? (It was a test!)

One sentence is easy. A 400 page book is another story. Even our QA readers end up finding different things in the book, although there is a lot of overlap. No one person is infallible, and you shouldn’t have to be.

Besides that, editing isn’t just finding typos, as we said above. A good content editor can take your book from okay to fantastic by helping you clarify your thoughts. A line editor will give you a punch list of issues in your book to knock out. While you may be able to find some great beta readers out there, a paid editor is a contracted resource. They will take the time to make sure your book is the best it can possibly be.

All of this boils down to one basic idea: You need a paid editor if you want to pursue a career (or even moderate success) as an author.

Time-Value Proposition

For authors, you’re expected to do a whole lot of stuff. Build an audience. Grow your social media. Develop marketing campaigns with blogs and Instagram posts and whatnot. And keep writing more books, of course.

When you outsource your book to a paid editor, you are placing worth on your own time. You’re saying, “I could spend six months reviewing each chapter in painstaking detail and still risk issues. Or I could hand it off to you and get it done in a month.”

We also like to use this scenario: An editor will run you around $400 (depending on word count). If you publish your book on Amazon, you’ll have to sell 197 books at $2.99 (with a profit of $2.04) to break even on that edit job. If you don’t use an editor… you may not sell any books at all. And no authors wants their debut novel littered with one-star reviews about poor editing.

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