https://www.facebook.com/groups/1921200231485411/ The Left-Handed Typist: Why Hire an Editor

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Why Hire an Editor

I've been thinking more about indie books of late. And I've been having more people give me book recommendations with a disclaimer: it needs to be edited ... but the story's really good! So how important is it to hire a professional editor before you publish your book?
It's non-optional! I know indie authors don't get an editor as part of a publishing contract. And I know indie authors also have a tight budget for each book. There are some things you can do yourself,  but I always hire out cover design (because the cover has to be good to sell), interior formatting (because I haven't learned it yet), and editing. If I'm telling you that as a freelance editor ... then you should I know I mean business. ;)

The reason I always always hire an editor is because she's. not. me. That's basically what it comes down to! I want someone who's gifted with editing and can read my final draft so that I feel confidant that it's had a final polish.

One danger of self-editing is that inconsistencies can be created while trying to solve problems. It could be as simple as misspelling someone's name or as important as using the wrong name and confusing your readers. But let's establish right now--there is no such thing as an insignificant error. Errors are errors and they lessen the quality of your book! That's why I want eyes I trust (I use Kelsey Bryant). Honestly the task I give her is really just a final proofread, which some people charge less for.

For the other things like getting feedback on character development, pacing, confusing sentences, plot holes ... I use alpha and beta readers. I have a pool of six people I use for alpha reading, depending on who's available and who would be interested in my particular story. This is for a critique on the first draft. For betas I usually open up a form and take about 15 friends to read through a later draft that I can then ready for Kelsey.

This is invaluable and where the bulk of my editing comes in. But I'm not comfortable just having online friends read it, because most of them are readers and writers, not editors. There is a difference, and it shows in a final manuscript. And again, I need one person to give it a last read through.

Why don't I do it myself? 1) Because I'm really done with the book by this point xD I've edited and re-edited and I really don't have the time or energy to read all the way through it. 2) Being my own work, I'm going to read it the way I mean for it to come off, not necessarily the way it will come off to other people--readers. So there's that.

I think the main reason people don't hire editors is because, unlike me, they'd rather spend the time than the money. I totally understand that! And this post is not saying that every published book without a professional edit is bad. Yet I would say that there is a noticeable difference, at least to me as an editor. If your readers can see that difference, your book isn't going to do as well.

So the struggle of finding a cheap editor! If someone's offering you a comprehensive edit for free, you should be wary because they deserve compensation for the hard work that editing is! Yes, you get to read a book. But editing is so much more than that.

Thankfully, there are quite a few writers who also offer editing services for less. To be completely honest here, I'm not sure every one of them should. It seems like a popular thing to do, and I can't imagine that all of them are actually skilled editors. But I digress ... :P

Do not pay $2,000 to have your novel edited. There comes a point where I don't think it is worth your money. But instead of throwing up your hands and deciding to do it yourself, see if you can find a relatively inexpensive editor who will do the job well.

Hiring someone is scary. But the easiest way to avoid paying a bad egg is to hire off the recommendations of friends. That's how I found Kelsey, and I'll be using her to the end of my days, I expect.

And yes, I'm an editor, and the cheapest one I know ... but this is not a post just to promote what I do (although I'd love to have you). It's a post to promote the importance of editors because they're really quite cool and underrated.
OK, so now I'm curious!! Do you hire an editor before you publish? Who do you use? Do you offer beta reading or editing services? Definitely feel free to drop links!

Also, this has nothing to do with editing xD ... but I have some super cute magnetic bookmarks available in my Etsy shop now!

11 comments:

  1. I'm really considering getting an editor myself in case I self publish because I am NOT an editor. Seeing mistakes in my own work makes me pretty impatient. >.<

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    1. Good for you! Yes, I get really tired of editing my own work as well. I mean, I end up having to do some of it, but it's so nice to have someone who knows what they're doing give me the feedback on what to do and how to fix things ;)

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  2. Such good points. I seriously want an editor no matter how or what I publish. What do you think about those who get alphas and betas instead of hiring a professional?

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    1. *high five* I think there's still going to be a noticeable difference in the quality. I mean for MH, it would have had a couple dozen minor errors still that my editor caught. And generally editors are going to know standards on things like "all right" vs "alright" and the two spellings of callous/callus. Things like that. I can't expect my beta readers to know that. But they're invested in me and the story and give me TONS of feedback as pre-readers. :D I mean, beta readers simply aren't professionals, and if they are they should be charging instead of beta reading, which is a transition I made ;)

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  3. Eventually, I think I had better hire an editor because my book (at this point) is almost 20,000 words more than The Fellowship of the Ring. So far, I'm still in alpha reading though... Good post!!!
    astoryspinner.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh wow xD That alone is a good reason. I've found that the longer mine are the harder it is for me to keep up with consistency errors and such. I hope everything goes well for you!! :D

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  4. I totally agree, editors are crucial. At a certain point, no matter how good of an editor you may be yourself, eventually your eyes just begin to glaze over things that would jump out to other people. You need a second pair of experienced eyes. Great post, Abi!

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    1. YES TO ALL OF THIS! Glad we are on the same page xD

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  5. Thanks for posting this! I have a question. Do you think it's be okay to say, have my dad and sister edit my books, or is it really important to get an actual editor?
    Laura
    flowersinmybasket.blogspot.com

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    1. I would suggest that your dad and sister be beta readers if they want to help you with your book. They're still reading your story and giving you feedback. There are some benefits to having family members help, although I tend to shy away from that because I think I'd have a harder time taking critique from my family than my friends, whereas some people's families would say it was great no matter what.

      So, yes, I'd still say it's super important to get an actual editor. Unless your sister or dad has done editing as a business for a few years and know the ins and outs of current writing standards in the industry ... they're not going to have the extra know-how and sharp eyes that an editor will. That's invaluable in my opinion. Of course it's up to you, but I can see a difference in quality based on how advanced a critique the writer gets before publishing. Even with all of that, we continue to grow as writers, so our writing does as well. That's just the way it goes, but there are few things to be avoided up front at all costs.

      I hope that's helpful! :D

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