Title Writing News

Editors and Editing

No writer is perfect. Sometimes we can find it impossible to edit our work. The brain often fills in the correct item when we are reading our work because we know what is supposed to be there. That said, at some point, you may want to hire an editor. So, there are some things you might want to be on the lookout for when hiring someone to look at your work.

But before we go there, let me first point out that what we do in LCRW is Beta Reading. Our Critiques are not editing. One, we don't charge for them and two, it's done by fellow writers, not full-time editors. Writers, of course, are not editors. If they were… well, the whole field of editing wouldn't exist. Simply put, writes are not qualified to be editors. Additionally, being a high school or elementary school teacher doesn't make you an editor either. Editing a book is a completely different ball game from grading a paper. The other true thing is that if you're using traditional publishing routes, then you'll be assigned an editor from the publishing house. This, of course, is a different story.

The bottom line, however, is this editing isn't something you should skip. This goes double if you are self-publishing.

Here are some things you might want to consider when you are searching for an editor:

There are four types of editors:

    1. Developmental Editors: an editor in this area concentrates on editing the story structure and the content of the work itself.
    2. Line Editors: These editors work with authors on writing style on a sentence and paragraph level.
    3. Copyedit: This covers grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The object of which is to protect the author from making accidental errors.
    4. Proofread: This editor is responsible for seeking out small errors missed in the process along the way.

Rarely does a single editor do all four tasks. Although many editors offer package deals. For example, both Developmental and Line Editing. As an author, your best bet is to obtain the services of editors in the above order. (Developmental, Line, Copyedit, and finally Proofread.)  

  1. Costs:
    The average editor will charge from one to three cents per word. They may also change per page or hour. Yours truly once had a 2,800-word story edited for $90, which is about 3.2 cents a word (a little on the high side.) In general, edits should get cheaper as you do down the list (Developmental, Line, Copyedit, and Proofread.) Two sub notes here. New editors should probably cost you less. However, it's also perfectly reasonable for an editor in high demand to increase their fees. That's just standard business practice.  Be forewarned, editing scammers do exist. As with all things, if the price sounds too low to good… it's probably not real.
  2. Paper Trail:
    A real editor should be able to provide you with an invoice, a contract, or both. If they don't… and it is not someone you know. Run far, run fast.
  3. Sample Edit:
    Most editors you contact will be willing to provide you with a sample edit. Writers should feel free to ask for one. However, they are not required to accept this request. In other words, you send them a document… anywhere from three pages to three chapters. It depends on the editor. They give it a shot and send the material back to you. This can be an invaluable tool in finding the right editor for you.
  4. Finding the Right Editor for You:
    In general, you want to find an editor in your genre. If, for example, you're writing a fantasy novel, you're going to have trouble with an editor who works with contemporary writers. The best editors will have a real Web site (and not just some material they threw together on Squarespace.) Check their site to see what genres they work in. If it's not on their Web site, you may want to ask. You can also check out what kind of books they have been editing. If they have been exclusively publishing children's books, they may not be the right person for your mystery novel.

From the best editors. you can get testimonials. Sometimes they can be right on the editor's Web site. Sometimes you must ask for them. Don't forget, if you read the praises of an editor in the acknowledgments of an eBook… that's a testimonial too.

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