Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Writer Wednesday: When To Hire An Editor

Today's topic comes from Sheena-kay who wants to know at what stage of your writing/manuscript you should hire an editor.

It depends. Some of my clients want to focus on content and making sure that all the necessary plot elements are in place. They hire me for developmental edits. In this case, they've drafted and revised but don't consider the work ready for submission to agents and/or publishers yet. I help them fix any content issues before they revise and polish their work.

Other clients like to wait until they can't find anything else to fix and then have me do a developmental edit. These clients feel like their manuscripts are strong already but want an outside opinion to make sure the story is coming across as clearly on the page as it is in their heads.

The next group is looking for a content edit because they feel pretty confident in their stories but want another pair of eyes on it to catch glaring issues as well as SPAG errors. These individuals usually have critique partners and/or beta readers who have helped them work on the book before I see it.

And the last option I see is from people who have the content the way they want it after going through several critique partners and beta readers and are basically looking for me to proofread for errors.

So when should you hire an editor? It really depends on what you're looking for from your editor and how helpful your CPs and betas have been. The only time I would say you absolutely need to hire an editor is before you self-publish. While you need to revise your own work, you can't be the only one to work on it. You need an editor. (Even editors can't edit their own work.) And in the case of self-publishing, a proofreader is a must. You don't want to let grammar and typos ruin a great story. :)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

20 comments:

  1. Great post. If I continue getting the kind of responses I'm getting, I may well be asking you to have a look at my manuscript.

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  2. Great advice! (Okay, I can't concentrate on your post because my eye keeps drifting to your amazing new covers for Into The Fire & Out of the Ashes.)

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    1. Aw, thanks! Deranged Doctor did a fantastic job with the covers.

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  3. I've done editing for others, but I wouldn't self-edit for myself.

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  4. Hiring an editor is a must, but even then errors can sneak through. I had two- a content editor and a final proof editor-- and there were still errors when I had my non-fiction book published.

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    1. I find errors in every book I read. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has a ton. I was shocked.

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  5. Yay! You picked my question. Thanks Kelly and your response really helped me. Sometimes it can be confusing when an editor should look at your work. This post has given me some idea.

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  6. I'm going to step in here and say, hire an editor any time you can. Hire an editor when you're getting started and not getting anywhere. You will learn a lot. Hire an editor when you feel you've peaked. You will learn. You may even gain confidence. (Sometimes the editor does find something that will make a difference. Something I wouldn't have found on my own, but it's one thing when I was expecting 10 and their comments are overwhelmingly positive).

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    1. Yes, you can do it at any stage. It really depends on what you want to get out of it.

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  7. So spot-on about how needed editors are. I have no doubt you are a very good one, Kelly.
    I certainly need proofreading, because I do it better for others than for myself. Same goes for plot-holes.

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    1. You're not alone. It's so difficult to see your own mistakes. That's why time away from a manuscript makes revisions better. You almost forget what you wrote and can look at it with fresh eyes. Still, you need others to help you edit fully.

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  8. I am a HUGE believer in editors and having someone else editing. I might have a good idea, even tell a good story, but I (the writer) should not ever edit my own writing.

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    1. You can edit your own work but you should have someone else edit it too. You need someone who will see what you can't.

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  9. I have several beta readers look at my manuscript, but I've thought about adding extra eyes to my work. I know of some people who have their friends and family edit for them, meanwhile they're not even in the publishing business. A professional editor is vital.

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    1. Beta readers are great too. Extra eyes are key.

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  10. SPAG? I feel like I should know what that means, but I don't. Editing is a gift, that's for sure. Not easy to do.

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    1. SPAG=spelling and grammar. :) Editing is tough, but I love it.

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