If you are serious about being an Author Entrepreneur, then you want to be treating this like a profession from the very start.
Once you have good habits in place then the rest becomes a little easier. And this includes using a professional editor to edit your work.
My first draft has been with the editor for a week now and I am eagerly awaiting for feedback on my manuscript (today!) so that I can review and amend as necessary.
I feel excited yet nervous! Excited that someone else has read my work. But nervous to hear how many changes I may need to make!
I always knew that when I self-publish my book that I would use professionals to make it the best book I could.
Self-publishing today, when treated in a professional manner can produce amazing books. Some of these self-published books have gone on to earn their author’s thousands and even millions. Think E.L James and Martian Weir with The Martian.
Being a writer is like any other job when you treat it like a professional.
So my first advice is that you should invest in a professional editor and a professional cover design. Self-Publishing is not a solitary business. It takes a few people to make a good book, and this includes using professionals like editors and cover designers.
To be a professional self-published author there are 5 keys areas you need to look at and plan for:
- Editing and proofreading (I am currently in this stage now)
- Cover Design and formatting ( I will be starting this stage next week)
- Production and printing
Once you have your first draft completed you need to focus on Editing. There is only so much self-editing you can do before the words start blending into each other. When you get too close to your work, it can be hard to see the wood from the trees.
An editor provides a fresh perspective on your work. You can have the best book in the world but if it is marred with sloppy grammar and spelling mistakes, this can be very off-putting for the reader. I am a big reader and these things ruin my reading experience. So I want my book to be as error free as possible as well as being an informative and interesting read.
An editor can help with structure, narrative flow and point out mistakes and errors you are perhaps immune to or don’t even realise you are making because you are so used to writing like that!
Getting an editor is an investment in you as well as in your book.
How Did I Find My Editor?
I asked for referrals for editors from my author friends as well as searching online. I also had a look at Joanna Penn’s list of recommended editors. I choose my editor based on how much I could afford as well as reviewing sample edits of work they had previously done.
What does an Editor do?
I have contracted a professional editor to perform all three types of edits for me. Here are the edits an editor can do:
#1. Structural editing focuses on:
- Writing technique and style
- Plot structure
- Narrative flow
- Use of dialogue
- Factual accuracy
#2. Copy-editing or line-editing
This type of edit is detailed and is also known as red pen editing. This focuses more specifically on:
- Sentence structure and phrasing
The content and copy-edit can be performed by the same editor at the same time.
The next and final stage is proofreading. This is when another professional editor will read the book again and focus on:
- Fact checking
- Contradictions in the text
- Consistency of style choice
What you need to do when you find an editor:
- Ask for samples of their work
- Tell them your budget and your deadline i.e when do you want to launch the book. Then ensure they are able to work to your timeframe.
- It is largely known that you get what you pay for. So if you find someone prepared to edit your 50,000 words book for less than $200, chances are it probably won’t be quality work. It is worth investing in a good editor to ensure your manuscript gets the time and attention it needs. For ball-park figures, expect to pay between 0.2-0.4 cents per 1000 words.
- Try and speak with the editor beforehand to see the way they work. I met my editor in person when I was deciding who to work with. This may not always be possible but you can still arrange a Skype call or talk on the phone.
- Once you decide on an editor make sure you agree timeframes, understand how the process will work and sign a contract.
- Ask questions. I asked my editor questions such as how does the editing process work, when will you deliver the first edits back to me, and payment terms.
- When you receive the contract, check it thoroughly before you sign.
- Remember that the editor will only suggest changes. You are the author and the choice to make the changes will ultimately reside with you.
My manuscript has been with the editor for a week now and I am nervous but excited to get feedback which is due today!
I am dreading the red pen scribbled all over the manuscript but I know that it can only make my book better and make me a better writer.
My plan will now involve spending up to a week reviewing comments made by the editor and making changes where necessary. Then I get to do the fun stuff like finalising the title and cover design.
Do you have any editing tips to share? Please leave your comments below.