Organising a freelance book edit can be daunting. To make the process as smooth as possible, make sure you do these 8 things.
1. If it’s your first novel, beta readers come first
It usually takes longer to edit a novel by someone new to writing because many new writers aren’t as familiar with a lot of fundamental writing and storytelling theories. Jumping straight into editing could be a very bad idea because there’s only so much an editor can do. And at such an early stage in their writing career, inexperienced writers may not have the skills to implement the changes their editor has suggested.
If you haven’t had much experience in creative writing, taken any classes, and haven’t had much of your work put in front of an audience before, get beta readers. Beta readers, who you don’t need to pay, will be able to point out your book’s most obvious flaws and weakness. Doing this can help you work out if your book’s at a stage where it’s ready for professional involvement, or if you should practise the craft a little longer first. If you want professional feedback, opt for a manuscript appraisal prior to any editing.
2. Do your research
“Wow. I wasn’t expecting editing to be that expensive,” says everyone ever who hasn’t actually thought much about editing before sending out emails to editors.
Before contacting an editor, you need to understand what editing involves. Become familiar with the different types of editing, and set real expectations about how much editing will cost. It’s a lot.
3. Tell the editor what kind of book you’ve written
Different editors have different areas of expertise. Giving the editor as much information as possible upfront will give them a greater opportunity for determining whether or not they’re the right fit for you. The quicker this decision is made, the easier life is for everyone.
4. Tell the editor your word count
Page counts don’t mean anything. Editors need a word count, because they need to know how big the project is so they can begin estimating how long it will take to complete and whether or not they can fit it into their schedule. There are quite a few factors that go into how many words appear on a page, so a page count doesn’t give an editor an accurate idea of how large the document is. Tell them your word count.
5. Tell the editor what you need
“How much do you charge for editing/proofreading?” is an unanswerable question. Editing and proofreading are separate services, not synonyms, and there are different types of editing. Every service can be charged differently. Browse the editors services page to work out exactly what you need.
6. Be prepared to provide a sample
It can be hard to estimate how long a project might take without seeing the quality of the writing. Be prepared for the editor to ask you for a sample of your work.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample
No two editors are going to edit the same document in the same way, and you need to find someone who you can have a beneficial collaborative relationship with. Don’t be afraid to ask each editor you query to provide a free sample edit so you can get a feel for the way they work and choose the one you feel you’ll work with the best.
8. Tell the editor where you live if it’s outside their country
This isn’t always necessary, but since I get a lot of emails coming through my website, I need to know what country authors are from so I can be sure to tell them what currency I charge in if it’s going to be different to theirs, especially if it’s another country that uses dollars.
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