Have you ever been reading a book only to find that you can't make it through a page without a glaring typo or the same word used over and over? If you're planning on self-publishing a book, the last thing you want is for your audience to be turned off by a clear lack of editing.
When you self-publish a book, you want to make sure that the message of your text isn't lost in silly errors or grammatical mistakes. Even if you've gone over the book again and again, it can be difficult to get a clear sense of what changes need to be made because you are so familiar with it.
In this article, we'll take a look at eight essential steps you'll want to take to find the best editor for your book.
Before we hop into the steps you'll want to take to find the best editor for your book, I wanted to tell you a little bit about our jobs board.
If you're not interested in hiring an agency or digging through the internet for an editor that fits your needs and budget, consider making a job post on our Freelance Writing Jobs site. I created this site as a place where clients and freelancers can easily find one another and even create mutually beneficial ongoing relationships.
Making a post is easy and fast, and it will put your post in front of tons of qualified eyes. If you're hoping that experienced editors will find you rather than the other way around, take a minute to get the word out that you're hiring an editor for your next book on our jobs board.
Writing your first book is an amazing accomplishment, but finding an editor to work with can feel like a whole other mountain to climb. Let's break down the process into eight simple steps to make sure you find an editor you love working with for a price that works for your budget.
Before you sign a contract with an editor for your new book, you'll want to take some time to gain a greater understanding of what the editing world entails.
You might think that editing a book is pretty straightforward and that all editors will pretty much do the same type of work, but this actually isn't the case.
Before you start searching for editors, you'll want to consider what services you're actually looking for. Maybe you want someone that will go through your book with a fine-tooth comb with an eye for voice, tone, and narrative, or maybe you simply need an editor to give it a once-over for typos.
There are several types of common book editing services:
Once you have a clear sense of the type of editing services you're looking for, you can begin shopping around for an editor. You can search for freelancers on one of the many popular freelancing sites, or you might consider hiring an editing agency.
Editing agencies are firms that are made up of professional editors that will take your text through a rigorous editorial process, typically involving developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Of course, you can usually decide which of these methods you want your book to go through depending on your needs.
Even if you don't decide to hire an agency, it can be useful to peruse some of their sites and even communicate with them to learn more about the standard editing process.
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If you aren't psyched about the idea of tracking down the right editor on your own, the other option is to have editors come to you! By creating a job posting online, you can have editors apply for the gig and choose the right person for the job.
Of course, you'll find that the most experienced and qualified editors will also charge the highest rates, while newer and potentially less knowledgeable editors will be the cheapest options.
It isn't necessarily a bad idea to hire a new editor-- after all, this is going to be the most affordable route. If you do choose to go this way, though, you'll want to be very thorough in your vetting process to make sure that you are going to get the editing quality you are looking for. It's always great to save money when you're self-publishing a book, but it's only going to lead to wasted resources, time, and frustration if you hire an individual that is obviously not cut out for the job.
When searching for an editor, you will undoubtedly run into people that offer cheap services and promise results that sound way too good to be true.
Even from the very beginning of your editor search, you'll want to keep your eye out for red flags. Some claims that you should be watching for include:
Whether you've been hunting around online for editors or you've had dozens of editors respond to your job post online, it's time to start widdling down your list of options.
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing an editor, including:
When considering the payment structure used by different editors, it's worth understanding that common structures include:
While it's good to save money wherever you can, it's typically advised that one should be wary of editors that charge exceptionally low rates compared to the industry standard. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Once you have a shortlist of editors, it's time to start making moves. Send them an email asking them to set up a phone call or video meeting.
Though it can sound like a big time commitment to interview a number of editors, it's worth all of the upfront work. It can be a lengthy process to work with an editor, particularly if you're working with a content or developmental editor. You'll want to make sure that they are a good fit both for your book and as a partner for you to work with, so you don't want to skimp on the interview.
Here are some of the things you'll want to look out for during your interview:
In terms of questions to ask, here are some that will help you learn more about them and their editing experience:
You'll want to make sure you also give them time in the end to ask any questions they might have about you or your book.
You should interview at least three to five editors before you make your choice.
The more editors you talk to, the more information you'll have and the better you'll be able to make the decision.
Even if you're pretty sure you know which editor you're going to go with, go the extra mile and ask them for references and a sample edit.
One of the best ways to get a sense of what it will really be like to work with an editor is to talk to some of their past clients. You can ask these questions over email rather than a call:
Sample edits are free edits for roughly 1,500 to 2,000 words of your manuscript.
Sending a sample edit is an opportunity for editors to showcase their skills and give you a sense of the types of suggestions and feedback they'll be giving if you hire them.
Getting a sample edit is important even if you feel like the editor was well-spoken and impressive in their interview or if they seem to have the perfect work history for your project. Unless a freelance editor is incredibly well-known in the industry, it is very standard for editors to offer free sample edits.
When hiring an editor, you definitely don't want to skimp on the contract. You want to create a document that clearly states the cost of the services, what the services entail, a deadline for the editing work, and other essential information.
Contracts are key for ensuring that you and the editor are on the same page. It also provides important safeguards for both of you in the case of something going wrong.
Here are some of the things you'll want to include in your contract:
If the editor provides the contract, read it thoroughly and keep an eye out for clauses that don't serve your needs. For example, make sure there isn't a royalty clause hidden amongst all of the text or a clause that requires you to use the same editor for future books.
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Hiring an editor for your book is a big investment, so it makes sense that you would have a lot of questions to answer about the process. Let's look at some of the most frequently asked questions about finding the best editor for your purposes.
There are a lot of factors that can influence how much it costs to hire an editor, including the type of editing, the editor's level of experience, the length of the manuscript, the type of manuscript, and more.
The average estimate for the cost of copy editing and proofreading is roughly $1,000 to $3,000 per book. Developmental editing is a more extensive and expensive process, typically ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 per book.
You'll want to think about which payment structure will work best for you, as some editors work on a per-word or per-page basis while others charge an hourly rate.
Book editors don't necessarily need to have any specific degrees or credentials. Some editors will have a degree in journalism or English, or they might have degrees in their area of editing expertise such as history, mathematics, psychology, or science. However, having a degree is not a requirement for getting into the field.
Though many editors have degrees in related fields like journalism or English, there aren't any specific credentials that are required in order for an individual to break into the world of editing.
When hiring an editor, any credentials or certificates they have can help you understand their level of experience and knowledge in the industry. That being said, the most important thing you should be looking at is whether their experience is well-suited for your book, whether you feel comfortable working with them, and whether their sample edit appears to make them a strong candidate.
How long it takes to edit a book is going to depend on a number of factors, and there is no simple answer to this question. The turnaround time will depend on the type of editing, the type of book, and the specific editor you hire.
Some estimates state that a novel of 60,000 words will take somewhere between one to two weeks to complete, while others place the time frame for a novel of 90,000 words at four to seven weeks.
Ultimately, you will want to discuss the turnaround time with any editors you are considering hiring before signing a contract. If you have a strict deadline you want to meet, you'll want to make sure this is clearly communicated and written into your agreement.
Writing a book is an amazing accomplishment, but there's a lot more that goes into publishing a book than just writing the words on the page. It's worth putting in the work to find an editor that you are comfortable working with and that has experience in the subject and format of your book. If you have a tight budget, there's nothing wrong with hiring a newer, less experienced and more affordable editor, but you'll want to make sure you thoroughly vet them before signing a contract.
You can find an editor by making a job posting online, hiring an editing agency, or searching through freelancer profiles and reaching out to potential editors for interviews.
If you're trying to find the best editor without putting in countless hours of research and work, your best bet is going to be making a job posting online. Head over to our Freelance Writer Jobs board to make a post and start receiving messages from potential editors! Posting a job that will be visible for 30 days is free and easy, and you can input all of the most important information to help you quickly and easily vet the best editor for the job.
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