Self-Editing vs Hiring an Editor


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Thread: Self-Editing vs Hiring an Editor

  1. #1

    Self-Editing vs Hiring an Editor

    I'll be meeting with an editor next week. But in the mean time, I have some questions.

    1: Should I self edit before I send it off to professional editors? I've edited my book to the best of my ability to get rid of SPAG issues. The rest, I'm not so good at detecting, which ties into my second question.

    2: Would it be beneficial to buy books to help me self-edit my work before sending it off to editors? I just bought one book off of amazon called Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Its written well enough, however, some of the examples listed inside of it, lost me. Iunderstand telling vs showing, but I'm unsure when telling is needed and showing is needed in my book. And that's just the beginning. Should I forgo the self-editing for this and let a professional take care of it or not?

    3: Would it be better to hire the editors separately vs one that specializes in more than one category. Meaning should I hire an editor who just specializes in line editing, one who specializes in developmental editing, one in proofreading, etc. Or is it okay to find someone who does 2 or 3 at the same time?


    Honestly, the editing is becoming a nightmare for me. I'm unsure which is the best route to go. Not only that, I'm afraid that a professional editor may mess my work up and I'll be worse off than I was before. I am going to self-publish once this is finished but I want to make sure is as close to perfect before sending it off.

  2. #2
    I think it's important for you to understand the principles of editing well enough to know whether to accept your editor's advice or not.

    That's kind of vague, I know. But I think you're right to worry about an editor messing up your work - not because there aren't great editors out there, but because most of the really good ones are working full time for publishing companies and a lot of the ones offering their services to self-publishers are not that great. (There are absolutely exceptions. But that's why you need to know about editing yourself... in order to be able to recognize one of the exceptions when you find one.)

    I think most freelance editors will offer a sample edit of a chapter or other smaller portion of your work. I'd take those samples and give them a good hard look to see if you think they're giving good suggestions. If they are, carry on. If they aren't, look for someone else. If you aren't sure... that's when you have to learn some more about your own writing and writing in general in order to clarify your needs.

  3. #3
    I am a firm believer in good beta readers. Not folks who will tell you it's great no matter the truth. It can take time to find those who are interested in helping you create a good book.

    I favor readers because they point out where a problem lies without trying to tell you how you "ought" to fix it.

    Keep in mind that an editor that you've hired is working for you. He/she can't mess up your book, because you have the final say about whether to implement the suggestions.

    Should you hire someone who can handle multiple types of editing? It really depends on how strong your manuscript is in the first place. I can't answer that question.

    I hope this works out well for you!

  4. #4
    An editor or beta reader will help catch things you don't noticeand offer advice for areas you may not have seen. I think everyone should knowthe basics of editing a novel and general grammar and writing, but it's alwaysgood to have someone else look over your work an offer advice. Really the onlyway I can think of it could be negative is the people who will just say it'sgood and nothing needs to be changed. Or the opposite can happen too, Isuppose.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    I am a firm believer in good beta readers. Not folks who will tell you it's great no matter the truth. It can take time to find those who are interested in helping you create a good book.

    I favor readers because they point out where a problem lies without trying to tell you how you "ought" to fix it.

    Keep in mind that an editor that you've hired is working for you. He/she can't mess up your book, because you have the final say about whether to implement the suggestions.

    Should you hire someone who can handle multiple types of editing? It really depends on how strong your manuscript is in the first place. I can't answer that question.

    I hope this works out well for you!
    This first line is my problem. I usually had friends reading things. And even though I tell them to rip it apart and tell me the bad. They always come back with oh it was really good. Which makes it harder to get the real input you need.

  6. #6
    The publisher has their own editors and if your book isn't a total mess that needs a lot of editing they aren't going to fuss about your submission. You needn't a perfect submission but if it makes you feel good to hire your own editor before submitting to a publisher then suit yourself.

  7. #7
    You want the most polished manuscript possible before you go to an editor.

    But what an editor does is not merely proofreading.
    They also look at the overall arc of the story and help you make it better.
    Proofreaders are a dime a dozen, but editors are priceless.

    So clean up the manuscript as much as you can, then give very serious consideration to what the editor tells you. Be open to learn a new process. Their job is not to proof the book, but show you how much better it could really be. But be prepared to kill a few darlings.

  8. #8
    I think there are different tools for different kinds of writers. If you are a more intuitive writer who has picked up your writing skills by lots and lots and lots of reading, having a grammar or editorial book next to your elbow will not be helpful. Unless you are the wonderfully nerdy type who grew up diagramming sentences, these books will bog you down. You may wish to try a real-time digital editor such as Grammerly so that you can catch your mistakes as you go rather than consult books.

    If, on the other hand, you ARE the left-brained writer who keeps a tight and careful structure and sticks to an outline, these books may prove to be lifesavers. However, in this case I would recommend laying your work aside for several MONTHS before you come back to do a brutal edit.

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