1. seixal

    seixal Member

    Jan 6, 2016
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    What does a professional editor do for you?

    Discussion in 'Editing' started by seixal, Mar 25, 2016.

    I have completed a few pieces of work and I am now contemplating the next step, that is looking for a publisher. After going through many threads on this forum I see that hiring a professional editor is a frequently brought up topic. I was wondering what types of services such professionals do provide and if any of you could share their experience?
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    If you're planning to work with a publisher, most people would say you don't need to hire an editor - the publisher will provide one.

    If you're planning to self-publish, it's probably a good idea to hire a pro, but at the same time, it's money you may never get back, so... a tough call.

    Anyway, when I work with editors, they generally start with:

    A substantive edit - these tend to be fairly light, as most publishers won't contract for books they don't think are pretty close to ready to go. But it's at this stage that editors will suggest things that require large-scale changes - this character's arc is confusing, can you add/subtract/clarify things; the pacing is off here, I felt rushed/bored; we need a slightly more satisfying denouement... that sort of thing.

    After that comes line editing - the editor looks at the writing itself, word choices, flow, etc. They try to polish your style.

    Then copy edits, looking for grammar, usage, continuity, etc.

    Usually at this stage the book will be formatted and put into its hopefully-final form, and then it's time for proofreading - catching the final details that might have slipped through before.

    If you're hiring your own editor, be sure it's clear what kind of editing you expect/they provide, as going through all four levels is a pretty intense (and therefore expensive) project. It's also probably best if different sets of eyes look at the books for different stages (most of my publishers have one editor (the person called my editor) do the first two stages, then a copy-editor, and then someone else entirely to do the proofreading. I'm not sure I'd want to pay one editor to do all four stages of the work - they might be glossing over their own errors just as I've glossed over mine.
    Lifeline likes this.
  3. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

    Sep 30, 2015
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    I just engaged a pro for mine at some cost. However, we did it in two phases. First, she did a synopsis edit, which was first 40 or so pages and synopses of the remaining chapters, about two or three chapters per page, so she could see where the story was going. She did that very cheaply. This was good for both of us, because I got to see the quality of her work and ability to contribute to the story, and for her, to see whether she was looking at something in good shape or a piece of crap that needed major surgery. Fortunately, she was very pleased with what she read, and made some significant recommendations which I quickly incorporated. Therefore I engaged her for a full edit, which is expensive. I don't want to quote the price, because I am sure I will get a lot of posts telling me how they got theirs for a lot less. But if you message me, I will share that point. She also offers in the price (deducted for the synopsis edit) publication support, query letters etc. The only problem I have found is she is the most uncommunicative person I have run into. E-mails can go unanswered long enough for me to sometimes get concerned, but apparently that is her way. Her final review is due out on 1 April, and if you are interested, I will share what her final product was with you, again by message preferred, plus a recommendation, if I am satisfied.

    This is my first time, so I am learning as I go. One thing I noted... don't just pick one in the blind. Find an author who has used one, and get their recommendation. Some are just very expensive spell-checkers.

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