1. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    How does editing work?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by General Daedalus, Jul 31, 2015.

    So, basically, I'm interested in finding out some more about editing. I'll be doing some quite extensive self-editing once my 100000-word novel is complete, but I want a professional to do it. Provided that my agent can find me a publisher, how does it work from there? Will the published provide me with an editor or do they not do that? Will I have to find and pay an editor myself? If so, are there any editors who work on commission?

    Thanks in advance for any responses,

    -Josh.
     
  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    If you get a deal with a publisher, the publisher will provide the editor. Editing is not the agent's prerogative though if one picks you up unedited they might have a recommendation. And it's a very very good idea to get a freelance editor to look at your work before you start sending it out to agents. Editors get paid by the word, usually between $.001 and $.1
     
  3. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Only $100 for a 100,000 word MS?

    ETA: Oh dear. .1 dollars, not .1 cents.

    *shudder*

    $10k for a 100,000 word novel.

    o_O
     
  4. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    Thanks for the info, I'll probably look into hiring an editor once I'm done, in that case. As I say, I don't really know much about editing, so just out of interest- how much are they likely to change? Do they change minor plot details or just rearrange and polish your text to make it more readable? Thanks.
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    General Daelalus,

    Your manuscript does not have to be perfect if you're submitting to a publisher (or an agent to represent your work to publishers). But you want it to be the best you can make it before sending it off.

    An agent might take you on and offer suggestions to make the work more marketable, but you're not going to get a major revision edit or a line edit from an agent. If an agent recommends you to an editor before they take you on, it's something to be concerned about. Does it happen in legitimate ways? Yes. Is it a way for a less than scrupulous agent to send business to an editing service? Yes.

    Not every publisher handles edits the exact same way. Some have editors on staff, some hire freelance editors, or some combination.

    Here is a link to a detailed explanation by Kevin Hearne (best selling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles) for the editing process for the 4th novel in his series (Tricked) with Del Rey. Also included is commentary and insight by his editor.

    Link: On Revision (this title needs revision) by Kevin Hearne

    My experience with a small publisher is a little different. This process includes my first novel sold to my publisher, and those that have followed. In any case, even with subsequent novels, my publisher (owner/managing editor) reviews the manuscript and if accepted a contract negotiated and signed. An editor is assigned. The editor reads and makes suggestions and edits which I enact (or not) and approve. It then gets a second go through. Then the managing editor does a final review and makes suggestions/edits that are approved/enacted (or not). Then there is a galley proof which I read in addition to an editor (sometimes a proof reader), to make sure the copy is as clean as possible from typos and anything else that might've been missed or introduced in the formatting. Then it goes to print. Usually the ebook is released slightly before the ebook, and the audiobook has followed after, for all of my titles (thus far).

    Now, if you really believe you need an editor, you might consider working with another writer instead. Trade services, as it's far easier for you to find concerns and mistakes in someone else's book than in your own. And often you learn through the process. Otherwise, if you hire an editor, you're going to spend a lot of money that may never be earned back, especially if the novel never finds a publisher.

    If you're going to self-publish, hiring an editor, just like a cover artist, is part of the deal. When self-publishing, you're not only the author, but the publisher, and responsible for all that a publisher normally does (including hiring editors).

    If you do hire an editor, for whatever reason, get references and be very careful. Not all editors are created equal, and some poor editors may actually lessen the quality of the work.

    There are editors that look at structure and plot and the big picture, including characterization and such. Editors also edit for consistency (in spelling, including names and places, consistency, such as a car's make and model and year and color that the character drives doesn't randomly change), and also catching grammar, punctuation and typo concerns. You can hire an editor to do all of that, or different editors for different areas. You'll end up paying for what you request edited. Generally editing isn't cheap, at least not with experienced individuals who know what they're doing.

    Hope this helps and good luck as you move forward.
     
  6. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply, it was really helpful! I'm definitely going to be going down the traditional publishing route (provided that I can, of course) and your information is exactly what I wanted to know. I think I might be overthinking the whole editor thing- basically I just want to ensure that my writing is fluent and, well... not too convoluted, I guess. So I'm just going to write my novel, see what my agent thinks (good feedback on the first chapter I sent off so I'm hopeful) and then just wait for the publisher to handle the editing, hopefully similarly to how editing works for you.
     
  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Here's how it works from my perspective as an indie.

    First, long before editing begins and just after I've done the final draft, comes the beta readers. These are people who I trust for their opinions of books who give me feedback - usually about plot issues, characters, what they can and can't believe, and continuity sort of errors. They will pick up some typos etc as well.

    That goes back into the draft and I make the changes as I see fit. You have to see editing in all its stages as a conversation. You as the writer don't have to take anyone else's suggestions as it's your work, but you'd be a fool not to listen. Even when others get things wrong or miss something, that should come back to you as being important as you ask yourself - how could they get that wrong? Was I not clear enough?

    Next come the programmes. Oh dear lord - this is the start of the pain!!!

    Use them. Use every editing for spelling and grammar editing programme you can find. Turn their sensitivity up to eleven, and then start crying as you go through the book. Yes ninety percent of what they find will be absolute rubbish - it doesn't matter. What they do find is important and just the fact that they highlight something forces you to look at that sentence in detail. It focuses you.

    After that comes the editing - get those tissues ready!

    Now you can hire - I have hired - and it's been a mixed bag. Some are better than others. Some look at one thing, some at others. So do check references etc as well as prices. Look for experience.

    For me I'm lucky. My sister is an English Lit degree holder and lawyer whose damned good at editing since she does it for her work and works for free. But there's still pain involved - so much pain!

    We use Word - the correcting feature which allows bits and pieces to be added and subtracted with coloured txt / underlines (track changes?). It is the most horrible programme on Earth but it works. It also allows comments to be written in the margins - though usually they're insults as she tears strips off me - little things like "did you lose your mind or give it away because it wasn't doing you any good?!"

    Our process is simple. I send it down, suffer the late night abusive phone calls for about a month, get it back and start making the changes as I see fit. The final copy I get back and correct I save as Edit 2. (The copy she sent me was saved as edit 1.) Then after I've done my part it goes back down again for another go through. She sends back edit 3, and after I've done my stuff it's edit 4. I can't stress this highly enough - keep all the versions. Because at some point you'll be going through your book and come across a piece and think to yourself - where did that come from?

    Typically we'll go through four (on a small book) or six rounds of editing. It is a massive amount of work.

    After that comes the formatting - using the style guide from wherever you're publishing to. You'll again need different formats for different publishers. So for example the copy I send to Amazon is different to the one I send to CreateSpace, is different from the one I send to Smashwords - and I save all versions. Then finally at the end - two or three months down the line - comes the publishing - followed by the nervous breakdown.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    If your work is not edited you probably won't need to worry about a publisher...
     
  9. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Why it's always good to know how to edit yourself :confuzled:
     
  10. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Yeah that "how to edit" book I bought suddenly looks much more valuable heheh
     
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  11. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    This needed setting out from the rest of the post; I think it's so important.

    @General Daedalus you may find this blog post from SfEP in the UK helpful?
     
  12. Aaron Lopez
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    Aaron Lopez Member

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    Oh wow, you're from Rotorua! I'm up in Auckland =P
     
  13. Thujone
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    Thujone New Member

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    Great info guys thanks!
     
  14. Jack13star
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    Jack13star Member

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    I recommend working with other writers, as the article posted suggested, then when you are ready and feel necessary, get a professional to look it over. Beware though, I met a writer who pain someone to edit it, he did his revisions and then wanted someone to proof read it... Well, as I was going through it, I found spelling, grammatical, paragraph issues AND duplicate sentences still in the manuscript, the writer, when I pointed it out, felt really ripped off.
    I edited my first manuscript around 50 times or more before I sent it to anyone to check over, an editor I know gave me great advice: Print off your manuscript after you have gone over it a few times and read it out loud. I honestly couldn't believe how helpful that was, lots of old school red ink :agreed: Also, editing other peoples work in trade helps you be a better writer, as well as being able to edit your own work better as you go.
    This is a great site though, a lot of people who know their shit and have great advice. You will either find a fellow writer to look it over, or, a recommendation to an editor they have personally used before.
     

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