By Betty Kelly Sargent-
Do you want to make your book the best it can be? Of course you do. But how do you do that? If you are an indie author, as so many of us are these days, it is essential that you work with both a professional editor and an experienced cover designer. The process for finding these pros is pretty similar but today we are going to take a look at how to find the perfect-fit editor for you and your book.
Editors come in two general categories:
a.) developmental editors — who work with you right out of the gate to help you understand your market, conceptualize your book, organize the material, avoid repetition, keep it moving, engaging, fresh and original, and
b.) copyeditors and proofreaders — who make sure your completed manuscript is error-free and professionally designed.
How Do You Find A Good Developmental Editor?
“Good” is the key word here. A good editor is likely to be a professional editor who has had lots of experience in the traditional book publishing world. Once you have located an editor you feel may be right for your book, find out where she has worked and what published books she has worked on. Make sure she has had experience editing the kind of book you are writing. This is very important.
And where do you find this person?
=> Get a referral. Check around, ask other writers, your friends, agents at writers’ conferences.
=> Look online. Go to Google and type in “Freelance Editors.” Of course, you can type in “Freelance Copyeditors and Proofreaders” or “Freelance Book Designers,” too, if that’s what you happen to be looking for.
Also, you can check out our recently published guide The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide by Joel Friedlander and Betty Sargent (that’s me) for a complete list of available professionals as well as tools for writers, in 33 categories. Also check out:
www.bookdocs.com The Independent Editors Group (full disclosure, I’m a member of this group.
www.bookworks.com The Self-Publishers Association
www.consulting-editors.com Consulting Editors Alliance
www.digitalbookworld.com Digital Book World
www.the-efa.org Editorial Freelancers Association
www.mediabistro.com Media Bistro
www.publishersmarketplace.com Publishers Market Place
=> Chat with the editor. Define your goals. Feel free to ask him for his credentials and for the titles of a few of the published books he has worked on. If he has not worked on any books that have been published by a traditional publisher, be cautious. With so many fine, professional editors available, why settle for one with less-than-stellar experience? Try to be clear about what you expect from an editor. Do you like him? Is he enthusiastic about your project? Make sure you feel a connection with him because your working relationship will become a close one.
=> Be clear about the fee structure. Does she charge by the project, per page, by the hour? When and how does she expect to be paid?
=> Ask about the time line. How long does she expect the editing process to take? This depends on how quickly you get the revisions back to her, but make sure you both agree on what is a reasonable amount of time for this project to take.
=> Ask if he has had experience with self-publishing. This is not essential, but sometimes an editor who knows his way around self-publishing, or who can at least refer you to others who do, can be a big help for first time indie authors.
Always remember, this is your book. You are the creator, the artist, and your name is on the cover. When you disagree with your editor’s suggestions, trust your instincts and go with what you feel is right. You are the boss and that’s as it should be.