STAGE SIX: FINDING A PROFESSIONAL EDITOR AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE
The biggest complaint I hear from self-published authors is that they cannot afford an editor. I get it, finding a decent, professional editor can cost you upwards of $200-$2000. I don’t have that kind of money either. But, this does not mean you should simply skip this step—in fact, I would highly advise against it.
As self-published authors, it’s already so difficult to get our foot out there as it is, and there is a common misconception that because we choose to self-publish it’s because our work is not as good as the traditional publishing standards. THIS IS NOT TRUE. However, we need to prove ourselves in the writing community and show that self-published works are and can be just as captivating as what is out in the world today.
There are a few freelance websites I have found that are helpful in finding an editor that will not only vibe with you, but also may be in your price bracket. The two websites I would recommend are:
Most of the freelance editors listed on the sites have specified whether they have an hourly rate or whether it is a flat rate, but you can also post up a job for the editors to bid on based off of what you can afford. I’ve spent countless hours on these sites researching the different options as well as reading testimonials. One thing that you have to keep in mind with editing is there are multiple different types of editing, so when you approach an editor, you need to know exactly what you are expecting out of them.
The different types of editing are:
Substantive Line Editing and Heavy Editing: This can verge on an almost total rewrite of the book, but it usually proceeds on an incremental, detail-oriented level. In addition to performing the tasks of simple copy editing, a good editor takes an active role in initiating changes. In a heavy edit, sentences will be polished and reworded to improve clarity and flow and to get rid of repetition, clumsy wording, an overuse of passive voice, and convoluted sentence structure. Facts are checked and corrected, sections may be rearranged if necessary, and subheads and chapter titles might be reworked to make them catchier, funnier, or more dramatic. If, in their writing, authors occasionally become argumentative, cite personal theories as facts, use too much slang where it is inappropriate, or have a blind spot about when their tone is no longer “reader-friendly," a good editor will make suggestions to remedy these problems. In numerous ways, an experienced editor will point out problems the author has overlooked and will help authors find their voice, refine their vision, and bring their manuscripts to a more perfect state.
Copyediting: For a light to medium copyedit, the copy editor will correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and problems with syntax; will ensure that singular pronouns represent singular nouns and plural pronouns, plural nouns; will put the work in proper manuscript format; will standardize notes, bibliographies, and reference lists; and will make style decisions regarding punctuation, source citations, whether to spell out numbers or leave them as numerals, capitalization, Latin abbreviations, foreign words, quotations, how to use academic and military titles, when to italicize words or use quotation marks, etc., etc., ad infinitum. The copy editor will take care of endless details that most authors are unaware of but publishers are passionate about.
*Proofreading: A proofreader provides a final check of the file for minor mistakes in spelling, punctuation, spacing, and so on, before the manuscript, article, ad copy, or web content is published.
*Proofreading is actually not a type of editing, however it is just as necessary as editing, which is why I have included it in this section. It is normally the last step you take before publishing.
Check out this interesting article on freelance editors that I found on Writer’s Digest.