Writing: How to Choose and Use Editors for Your Self-published Books
by Karl Drinkwater on March 14, 2018 in Book Editing & Proofing, Starting Self-Published
Karl Drinkwater, who recently posted here about how to polish your manuscript before editing, now shares his top tips as an indie author and freelance editor on how to choose the best editors for your books and how to work with them to best advantage.
Decide Which Type of Edit You Need-developmental edit (also called structural, literary, content, or substantive) to flag up the “big picture” story, character and prose issues.
-line editing to fine-tune the language
-proofreading to pick up typos and any errors missed or introduced since the line edit
Use an Editor to Match Your Genre and Region-Genre
Seek an editor who is comfortable with your genre. Editors who specialize in a particular genre are more likely to know its tropes and the reader’s expectations. They may also have their special strengths in particular aspects of writing – one may be great at dialogue, another at structure, another at developing mood.
Make sure they are familiar with your preferred use of spelling and idiom. If your book is heavily tied to a region or subculture, ensure your editor understands the nuances of its language or dialect.
Set Editing CriteriaIf you use a particular style guide or have developed your own house style, tell your editor. Your editor will raise points such as when numbers need to be written as words. Note down the conventions you agree, and these will form the basis of your style guide for the future.
Test with a Free Sample EditBefore you commit to a particular editor, ask for a sample edit. Most editors will edit a short sample of your work for free, and provide a quote based on that. If you disagree with their suggested changes, or you feel like you would not enjoy working with them, go elsewhere.
Try a Paid Partial EditIf you suspect your work has problems of style and repeated errors, then you could save a lot of money by getting an editor to edit a few chapters initially. See what common errors they pick up on (mistakes of style, grammar, sentence structures, overuse of passive voice, speech tags, punctuation etc.), then go through rest of book yourself fixing them before submitting the whole, revised manuscript. Not only will you then really understand the errors and be less likely to repeat them in future, you’ll also save money on editing costs
You could get a developmental editor to look at just the areas you feel are weaker, such as the opening of a novel.
Consider Loyalty vs Variety-If you work with the same editor over time, they get to know you and your style, you build a rapport, and your writing can be taken to the next level. You may also earn a better rate once they realise your work won’t contain basic errors any more.
-If you work with different editors, you will learn different things from each of them. It’s like having different teachers in school.
You can adopt a mixed approach.
Anyone have any experiences or suggestions about choosing editors?