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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Should I Hire an Editor?

Do I really need an editor?

I have been highly contemplating this question for a couple weeks now. I've had beta readers going through my book consistently but I feel like that isn't enough. What I've seen is that because beta readers are free, they go through the book fast and give very general comments. There is always the exception where they do a line by line edit but it's rare. Out of my seven or so readers, one finished the whole book thus far. It's not so much a priority and I'm getting restless.

So I want to polish up my book but I've read it probably close to a hundred times. I'm sure I've missed a lot. The grammatical aspect isn't what I'm super worried about. When I read another book (if it's self published) I find that I can look the other way on errors- as long as it doesn't take away from the story. What I'm more looking for is someone to look at development, plot and the overall story. Maybe I use too many 'ly' adjectives or too much filler.

What does an editor really do?

There's a great blog that I view that is done by a book editor. It's run by +Laura CarlsonHere is a link. She explains the different types of editing done to books. She also offers her services and blogs frequently. If you follow her, tell her I sent you! :)

Manuscript Critique This is the most basic form of editing. The editor will read your book and give their feedback. They don't edit into the novel instead most write a couple pages of notes. There's not much grammatical unless the issue is blaring. Mostly the editor looks for plot holes, issues with character development and any other general thoughts.

Copy Editing This is a more in depth look into your manuscript. Copy editors looks for formatting, style and accuracy in the writing. This style of editing may not look so much at the substance of your writing but more at the grammar and sentences. Most editors edit into the novel making the authors editing easier. It takes more time for an editor and tends to me significantly more expensive than a critique.

Content Editing This is the other end of the spectrum in regards to copy editing. Instead of focusing on grammar, flow and styling this form of editing focuses solely on the meat of your book. This form is also done into the manuscript and is very specific. For Laura, she says that each chapter gets a couple pages of feedback. This form of editing is a step above manuscript critiques and much more in depth- making it more expensive.

Developmental Editing This is a different type of editing altogether. Usually a developmental editor will meet or talk with an author in the early stages of their book. They talk about where the book is headed, plot and how it all will come together. Once the book is finished this type of editing usually goes through and makes sure paragraphs are where they should be. They also address cutting and adding to the book- suggesting where to go on and if the book is whole.

Is it worth the price?

I did a post a couple months ago about editing prices. This stuff isn't cheap- but that's okay. If the service was cheap it wouldn't be reputable and the editor probably wouldn't care as much. The prices end up being worth it. I can't tell you how many reviews I see on amazon where someone says the ending was awful or they couldn't relate to a character. These issues could have been fixed, had they hired an editor prior to releasing the book.

This page shows just how much editing is according to EFA. This of course are averages but it's nice to keep these in the back of your mind. The last thing you want is to get scammed and someone to take your money. So keep in mind that if you see prices way above or way below these, it's probably BS.

In my personal opinion I do this it's worth it to hire an editor. I've contacted several editors getting quotes and getting a feel for them. I want my work to be the best that it can be. I don't want a reader to start and think I got lazy with editing.

How do I pick an editor?

This is very important  It's crucial to shop around and find someone who fits with you. It would be stupid to hire an editor that doesn't like your specific genre. They already aren't going to fit well. Look into previous works an editor has done and see if you fit in. Email the editor and talk about your work- you'll be able to tell if they're interested or not. You want someone who will be on your team and ultimately support you. Don't be hasty and pick a random person. It's important you get the best bang for you buck.

Happy Hunting!


  1. I know I'll be asking through my writers' groups who others have used and if they'd recommend them. One of the best parts about joining writers' groups is that you do such, and maybe save some money by getting someone highly recommended who charges a little less. On the whole you get what you pay for, but you can also find diamonds in the rough by networking. Just be sure you read the work of the person you're taking the recommendation from so you know what you'll be getting!

    Compared to other business, an initial investment of around $350-$700 isn't terrible, as long as it pays off in the long term. But as another broke young person, coming up with that much SUCKS. Really.

    1. If you hear of anyone who stands out let me know! I'm pretty sure I'm going to go ahead and hire someone- now the hard part of finding someone I trust.

      I better start filling my piggy bank! ;)

  2. I'm not there yet, but will be looking for an editor a bit further down the road - so thanks for this blog - very informative.

    1. Thank YOU for reading! Good luck with your book

  3. Appreciated this article. Finding good editors - and ones that you can work with - can be a challenge. I have been blessed to connect with some through my content writing work and although they have not hung out their "professional" signs as of yet, with their experience, educations and backgrounds I would say they are as good (or better) than any sign hanging professional out there.

    Finding someone you "trust" will be relative. I hired out a critique of my first book, and I used some of the suggestions but discarded as many as I used. It is your book. It is your voice. Let the editors help you polish your work of art, not dictate it. :D

    1. That seems to be the trouble I will start to have now. I've looked for editors and have submitted a few pages. Most let you do that. I'll see which edits I like the most.

  4. Be careful who you hire, and watch out for sites that offer editing service. They don't always do the job as well as you think they would. I've witnessed this first hand. I wonder if it wouldn't be better to hire someone local, especially if you live in a city... This is the problem with hiring people...

    1. I'm finding this and also publishing houses to be a problem. So many scams out there!


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