I have been attending a number of workshops and conferences on Self-Publishing of late to spruce up my knowledge in this area and below are some of the notes I made from the Self –Publishing conference held in Oct 2015. This was run jointly by the Alliance of Independent Authors and The Writers & Artists and focused solely on self publishing tips. This article focuses on the editing process and was delivered by Roz Morris.
The Basics of Editing
You may not be at the stage where you are ready for editing but it is still worthwhile to have a think about it as you near completion of your first draft. I am halfway through my book but I think it will be good to at least start thinking about who I want to edit my book as you have to book editors at least 4-6 weeks in advance (that was a wake up call for me!). They are busy people 🙂
There are 3 main types of editing available:
- Developmental Edits
- If it’s a fiction book then this will look at the content, storyline, characters, suitability of genre.
- If it’s a non fiction book this looks at whether you have delivered on what you promised your reader. For example if your book is called ‘How to Find Your Passion’ will you reader know what actions or steps they need to take after reading your book on how to find their passion? Did the reader get what they were looking for? Is the reader a step closer to finding their passion?
- Is the style of writing appropriate? For example think about the way books are written if the audience has a scientific technical background versus those reading a ‘how to / dummies guide’.
- Copy edit (also known as line edit)
- A copy-edit consists of looking at consistency, correctness, chronology of events, language used, are sentences understood?
- This usually comes last and is considered as the final check, like a MOT for a car.
Who Provides Editing Services?
Independent editors: They can be better value for money. For a list of editors check out the recommended list by Joanna Penn at the Creative Pen.
Service providers: Typically have a bigger pool of resources and expertise at their disposable and you can potentially get better deals and quicker turnaround on your manuscript.
Most editors are freelance: Especially those working with Indie Authors.
Find your editor in your favourite book: The book will typically list who edited the book.
Match editor to your type/ style of book: There is little sense in asking an editor who specialises in romance fiction to edit your crime horror thriller! Ensure your developmental editor is specialised in your genre. Again, look at other books in your genre and find out who the editor is for some suggestions as to whom you can approach.
All editors can’t generally edit all types of genre so do research into one that is a best fit for you.
Allow time for the editing process: As a rough guide, most editors need to be booked up to two months in advance as they can take anywhere between 2-4 weeks to edit your book. So add this into your book launch plan.
After going to all the efforts of finding and securing an editor, do be prepared for the comments you will receive! Especially if its your first book (as we can all be sensitive about that first one!). Rather, think of it as part of the learning journey. Editors will help make you better writers and make your book better.
State clearly on your manuscript which type of English its written in i.e Canadian English or US English? As this will impact grammar/ spelling revisions e.g colour or color?
When is the Best Time to Send Your Manuscript to an Editor?
- Once you have completed your draft you should perform self-edits.
- Do this once, twice, three times if more. At the time where you can no longer perform any more self edits, and where the words are bleeding into one another, thats the time you need to step away from it and turn over your manuscript to a professional editor. This will of course vary for every individual so listen to what your inner self is telling you!
- When performing self-edits, look out for the actual story, character, plot, style, completeness. Only then should you look at words, structure and style.
Tips on Self-Editing
- Change font when you start to edit. The text will look fresh to your eyes.
- Print off a printed copy and go through the edits by hand. Completely Novel can produce a proof version for a few dollars.
- Read out your words out loud
- Put your work on a Kindle and read it from there
- Writing groups (these can be on / off-line groups)
- People who will like your genre and suit your book
- Friends / family– ask them where did they get confused, bored in the story etc?
How Much Does It Cost To Hire An Editor?
Editors typically tend to quote by the hour (i.e £26 per hour) or they can charge by word count i.e.per 1000 words.
You can get more info on how to edit and find a professional editor at the Society of Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP):http://www.sfep.org.uk/
Association of Freelance Editors, Proofreaders and Indexers (AFEPI): http://www.afepi.ie/members.
http://www.the-efa.org/- Editorial Freelancers Association.