I have lost count of the number of times I have seen people on writer’s forum ask – “Do I really need a professional editor?”, “Can anyone recommend a good editor?” “Can my friend be my editor?” “How much does an editor cost?”
And this is usually followed by twenty something posts of people saying, “I’ll do it”, “I charge $5” and a barrage of sharing of their links etc. This is of no help whatsoever and should not be taken as any sort of recommendation. No offence but who are these people? How do you know the quality of their work? Their reliability? Or even if they are a story thief? If you are a newbie it is easy to be caught out.
Let’s face it writing your manuscript and working through the process to turn it into a successful book, is quite stressful enough, without worrying about whether people can be trusted with your work.
My advice, and you really need to listen to it, is do not ever start editing until you have got the whole story as you have it down on paper. I mean it, and here is why; if you finish chapter one and edit that, redraft it, edit again until you get it just right the chances are you won’t make it passed chapter three. You must get the whole story down on paper (or screen).
Once it’s all written down give yourself a couple of weeks to learn about the five types of editing and editor there are, and then you will be ready to ask the right questions to find the right editor for you.
Here we go – Stage one and two are the types of editing that need to you do yourself.
Stage one work through the first chapter, making sure you have not changed character names or brought in a brother when you said the character was an only child, or something equally inconsistent – it has been known to happen, if you have done that change it now. Move onto chapter two and repeat this process, and only this process right now. Complete this process until you have got to the end of your story.
Stage two, only after that process do you start looking at grammar and spelling, luckily if you are using a laptop to write this process will be much easier, as the software will usually mark where these mistakes are. Software such as Grammarly is available, but unless you really struggle with the language you are writing in you may as well save your money for later.
When you get to the point that you do not feel that you cannot self-edit anymore, you are into Stage three, this is where the professionals come in, you will need at least one type of editor, and you will need to pay for their service (what type of service are providing will determine this). The only people I can recommend you using are those recommended by the Writer’s and Artists Yearbook or The Alliance of Independent Authors, as these have been, and are frequently checked for quality and reliability. You don’t want to send your manuscript off, to worry over whether the editor will meet deadlines, have to chase them if they don’t, or deal with people who overcharge and underdeliver.
My ALLi affiliate link is here https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/?affid=8022
That’s enough to keep you busy for the next few weeks, but if you are ready for the next stage, I talk all about Stage three onwards in Out of Your Head and Onto The Page audio course ‘Interior Designing’ which has nothing whatsoever to do with soft furnishings and furniture placement! instead it explains beta readers, who can be one and what you need to ask them to make them worthwhile. Copy editors and the difference between soft and hard checks, and Proofreaders. what you want your book to look like inside, what will appeal to your ideal reader, and how to get what you want.