by Ken Brosky
Quality matters in the writing game. Finishing a project is just the start.
|Finding a professional editor is an absolute must for writers going it alone. The publishing world is challenging, and even the self-publishing game on Kindle requires your work to stand out. Lots of writers believe they can simply have friends read their writing in order to get feedback, but--unless your friends have writing experience and are willing to be honest--this is a giant mistake. What you need, more than anything, is honest feedback from someone who knows the game. But in a world filled with so many options, what should you look for? Here's a handy guide that I hope will help!|
Look for a Teacher
Some editors focus entirely on making your manuscript (novel, screenplay, short story collection, etc.) better. Other editors go beyond this and try to identify opportunities in your writing to teach you. It's one thing to be told you need to revise Act 2 or Chapter 15. It's another level entirely to understand why that particular part of your story isn't working ... and learning from the moment. Whenever I'm working with an editor at a publisher, I always ask "why?" so that I can understand how to make my writing better. Find an editor who does this for you, too.
It's OK to look around and email editors with questions. Just as importantly, visit their websites so you can get a better sense of their editing philosophy. Most editors will also include some sort of resume with publishing experience. As a rule, you're generally more likely to find a good professional editor who has their own website rather than going to a service that employs lots of editors (for example, on Fiverr.com you can find an editor, but the quality is very lacking).
A good professional editor will charge somewhere between $2,500 and $6,000. I typically charge $2,950 for a 250-page novel, and I accept payment in installments to make the investment easier to afford. I charge this because I have a Master's Degree in Writing, I have multiple professionally published novels, and my writing and teaching have both won awards. I provide feedback and I also pass on what I've learned--essentially, my clients are buying a private tutoring lesson in addition to traditional feedback. Beware editors who charge less: they may seem affordable, but you're unlikely to receive any meaningful insight that you can take with you into your future works.
Proofreading Comes Cheap
One thing I always tell writers is to never pay a professional editor to do proofreading. It's a waste of money because you can find a skilled proofreader who will charge far less than a professional editor. I would charge 30 bucks an hour for this, and I can tell you with 100% certainty you can find someone cheaper to do it. Because proofreading not a high-skill job, you can still expect good quality if you go to Fiverr.com and find someone with positive reviews. Proofreading is the last thing you should think about before submitting to an agent or publisher, or hitting the "publish" button in your Kindle account.
Bottom line: Shop around, ask questions, and look for a personal connection. Make sure your editor has the skills to make you a better writer so that you feel empowered to continue the editing process on your own. And never, never pay someone an arm and a leg to find simple grammar errors for you.
If you're ready to get professional editing help to take your novel to the next step, consider working one-on-one with me! You can find more information at: https://kenbroskyauthor.com/editing-services/