Choosing an editor

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Thread: Choosing an editor

  1. #1
    Mentor Dluuni's Avatar
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    Choosing an editor

    How does one do due diligence on finding an editor who does good work? Somebody local is offering editorial services, and I don't know how to figure out if they're up to the task. I've been studying self editing so far.

  2. #2
    Mentor Arachne's Avatar
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    Ask to see some of their previous work and give them a section of yours to edit so you can see what they’d do with it, I guess.

    Arachne

  3. #3
    Check their references. If they don't have any, don't do it. Self-editing is best done by those who have experience outside editing. Sometimes it's a necessity, economically-speaking, but this doesn't seem to be the case.
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  4. #4
    And when you pick one, you should define your idea of editing.
    I often see writers who just want their SPAG checked.
    That's proof reading, not editing.

    An Editor will make you change all those things you wrote bad or wrongly.*
    An Editor will make you trim the superfluous fat, and cut out that distracting side-story you thought was so cool.*

    An editor will charge more than a proof reader, but they will deliver much more.
    An editor doesn't just fix your book, they guide you to the maximum potential your story is capable of.





    *You may not like that part. It can be painful.

  5. #5
    Mentor Dluuni's Avatar
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    There's also a nontrivial danger of "Oh, it looks fine!" or *hems, haws, delays, tries to block publication* or "Why do you have all this $*&%-y stuff? It offends me. Pay me plz."

  6. #6
    Actually, that is trivial. Just check their references. A good editor has experience somewhere. And be sure to know what services you're after. Ralph listed the various permutations from proofreader to story doctor. Good work isn't cheap. I charge 3$/page for line edits and story-doctoring, for example.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    An Editor will make you change all those things you wrote bad or wrongly.*
    An Editor will make you trim the superfluous fat, and cut out that distracting side-story you thought was so cool.*
    *You may not like that part. It can be painful.
    Just a note here, though, if any editor 'makes' you do anything, that's not an editor you want to work with. Editors recommend or suggest changes, but it's always ultimately the author who makes those changes. It's good to listen to what an editor is saying because they have experience with what works and you need to trust that, but the choice is always the author's to make.

    With editors, you get what you pay for. If you're paying cheap, you've probably found an editor who's only done a few edits and has no qualifications in editing. Cover all corners when you're looking to hire one: it's your money you're spending, so treat it as seriously you would when buying any product. Anyone can say they can edit, and unfortunately, they will take you for a ride. Look for:

    1 Qualifications (Does he have formal training in editing? Has he worked with publishers etc)
    2 Testimonials (what are authors saying about him)
    3 With content edits, does he specialise in the genre you write? If not, you're wasting his time and yours. It's no good working with a Science Fiction editor if you're into crime.
    4 Process page: what does the editor 'list' that he looks for at content, copy edit, or proof stage.
    5 Check the work itself: go to Amazon, use the 'look inside' function. If you see glaring errors in the sample, that's not someone you want to work with.
    6 Talk to them: ask if they know protected speech, what is their preference on dictionary choice etc.
    7 And if in doubt, go speak privately to the authors he's worked with.
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