Preparation Is The Name Of The Game
If you submit to an agent or publishing house, your work won’t last five minutes off the slush pile if it’s not ready-to-go, and by that I mean professionally edited – not simply proofread. Your manuscript requires more than its punctuation and spelling errors corrected.
The same goes for those of you endeavouring to self-publish. If your work isn’t honed and cleaned to a professional standard, your initial sales will dry up and your name will quickly join the many out there known for not doing the necessary work required to ensure your reader is satisfied with their purchase.
In other words, why should I fork out my hard-earned cash on a product that is below par? This is especially so when there are so many new releases that have been put through their paces, tested and kicked about until they’re just right, with a story that works, a solid plot, strong multidimensional characters, dialogue and narrative that pulls the reader into the experiential core of the novel, with a satisfactory conclusion that leaves everyone wanting more. Life’s way too short to waste time and money on authors who expect an easy ride without putting the work in.
True, a professional isn’t cheap, whether it’s a developmental, line, or copy editor, but it’s so worth the expense to have your hard work brought to a point where it is the best it can be. It’s not like you’ll just wake up one morning and decide that you need an editor. This is something that should be an inherent part of writing a novel – as essential to the process as finding a cover designer, or a formatter, or an agent if you’re going the Trad route. If you’re committed enough to lock yourself away for months on end (sometimes years), as well as putting the work in researching and enhancing your knowledge of the craft, then it shouldn’t be a problem opening an editor account or stashing a few euro/pounds/dollars aside each week so that you’ll be able to hire a professional without having to worry about sourcing the finance at short notice.
Without that financial weight around your neck, you can focus on finding an editor who will best suit you. Know what you want and make sure you dig a little deeper, visiting the editor’s website, Twitter and Facebook pages, where you can check out their services and testimonials, see who they are and what they’re about. When you’ve created a shortlist of prospective candidates, email them and begin a correspondence that will further clarify where they stand in relation to your requirements. If they’re not willing to provide a sample edit, move on – you need to know if they’re suitable, and no better way than having edited pages in front of you. If you do your research, you’ll be well aware of what to expect from an editor. I’m a line editor. I’ll not pass one word until I’ve no doubt that it’s in the right place and doing its full job. The same goes for phrases, sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters, character, plot, story, style, grammar, and anything else you’d like to bring to the table.
So when it comes to finding your editor, embrace the process as thoroughly as you can. Know what you want and ensure that what is on offer suits your purposes. It’s up to you to do the work in this regard because you don’t want to receive your first edits and realise that your editor simply isn’t doing it for you. You’ve paid your hard-earned money by this stage and there’s no comeback. My clients know where I stand, what I have to offer, and that my door is wide open right up to the work’s release. My job is to help you make your story the best it can be. It’s what I’m good at, it’s my passion, and I’ll happily do it ‘til the cows come home (and later!).
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let your editing journey begin.