You want to be sure your book is the best it can be before publishing and sharing it with your fans and friends.
Hiring a professional book editor for your book can be a big investment of both time and money. In order to get the best return on your investment, you should educate yourself on what editors do.
There are many differents levels of editing, so it’s important to know what your book needs at your current stage of the self-publishing game before selecting an editor or paying for editing services.
Below I’ll share three crucial tips to get the most out of hiring an editor:
- Edit your book yourself before sending it to an editor
- Don’t take red marks personally
- Communicate thoroughly with your editor
Edit your book yourself before sending it to an editor
After you write your book outline and get through your first draft, let it sit for several days before you even think about touching it again. For short pieces like blog posts, most people can let it sit for a day or two then are ready to see it for what it is and revise it well.
Since a book takes much more mental energy than a blog post to write, your best bet is to leave it alone (don’t touch it, don’t tinker with it, don’t proofread it) for at least a week.
Letting your writing sit awhile while you focus on other things allows you to edit and rewrite better. This might be catching repeated or missing words, deleting parts that don’t support your main point, or reorganizing your content for better flow.
Why do this yourself–isn’t that what an editor is for?
Editors will catch many of your mistakes and suggest reorganizing or deletions, but know this: an editor will probably charge you more if you leave lots of obvious mistakes because it will take the editor more time to polish your book. So the better shape you can make your draft, the less it will cost you, and the more important details can be left to the professional.
Don’t take the red marks personally
When you do invest in a professional editor for your book, brace yourself. Lots of self-publishing authors, especially first-timers, are shocked at what is returned by the editor. Tens, hundreds, or even thousands of suggestions, changes, and comments will probably be inserted into your manuscript.
Don’t take these personally.
If you want your book to be better than it is (for you, your pride, and your readers), then you have to get feedback. That feedback, my friend, comes in the form of corrections and suggestions.
Take the red marks, tracked changes, comments and suggestions as another person who loves writing and creating great stuff sharing their opinion with you. It’s just another lover of the written language teaching you something and stretching you out of your comfort zone in order to make your book even better than it currently is.
Communicate thoroughly with your editor
Finally, communicate with your editor to get the best work from them. You and your editor are now a team. It’s up to you to communicate the following things:
- your goals and vision for the book
- your target audience
- anything you are adamant must not change
Your editor can better revise your book if she knows what your goals are for the book and what you envision as a success.
It also helps to share with them who your target audience is. Writing a novel for young adults should be edited differently than a nonfiction business book about finances.
Finally, if there’s anything you are adamant must remain untouched, a certain section or scene, tell your editor upfront so you are not disappointed if a change is made or recommended.
Communication is a two-way street. So you also must have an open mind and hear your editor after they revise your book.
- listen to your editor’s suggestions
- accept most of your editor’s suggestions
- put the work into rewriting, shifting, or expanding as recommended
Editors know a lot about writing and reading books. They know what style guides recommend, what readers want in your genre, and how to make iffy sentences sound exceptional. Have an open mind to hearing what they are suggesting. If you’re wondering why the suggestion was made…ask!
Even editors are human, however, and a lot of editing is subjective. Authors who really care about the quality of their book will take the time to read and ponder the suggestions. The grammar and typo corrections should be easy to accept, but the suggestions at the line editing and developmental level are highly subjective. You may not accept 100 percent of the requests made by your editor, and that’s ok.
Lastly, even though you are itching to get this book done already, put in the time and effort to rewrite, expand, delete, and reorganize the things suggested. You (and your readers) will thank you for it later.
These are some of the best pieces of advice for self-publishing authors working with editors. Follow these tips, and you’ll be sure to get the best return on your editing investment.
Dave Durden runs amzprof.com where he shares advice on turning writing talent into passive income. He loves geeking out over the nerdier side of writing.