5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN HIRING A BOOK EDITOR
Book editors are the superheroes of the writing industry. I mean, there’s a problem with your work, you call an editor, and just like that, the problem is fixed. Editing is a part of the writing process you cannot afford to skip. Doing that is literary suicide. I’m not the only one who loses interest in a book the moment I spot an error. When drawing your budget for a project, try to factor in editors. They can be pretty expensive, but trust me; it will be worth it in the end. You’re probably wondering, “what if I edit myself?” Yes, you can self-edit, but do you trust yourself to be objective with your work? And besides that, two heads are better than one. It’s always a good thing to get another set of opinions.
A book editor is a person who specializes in organizing, correcting, and structuring literary content to improve readability. They also review manuscripts, write and proofread. Some book editors are in-house for publishing houses, while others are freelance. Book editors charge according to their expertise and experience, the volume of your work, and the level of editing. They charge per word or page. Book editors are not hard to find. If you are going the traditional publishing route, you would have access to their in-house book editor. But, if you are publishing solo, you can find freelance book editors on the internet. Companies like TheMentormorphosis Consulting offer editing and proofreading services. You can also find editors in your writing community. Different types of editors perform various functions in the book writing process.
TYPES OF EDITORS
- Developmental editor: a developmental editor focuses on the structure and content of your manuscript. The developmental editor aims to bring out a better version of your manuscript. They are primarily concerned with areas like pacing, characterization, and setting. You do a developmental editor when you are done with your manuscript. You give it to your editor, who notes areas for improvement, then you rewrite. When you give your work to a developmental editor, be prepared to rewrite and focus on the big picture.
- Structural editor: a structural editor aims to develop a story’s structure properly. A structural editor considers what elements might be best for your work. For instance, they could introduce flashbacks into certain scenes or overhaul an entire chapter.
- Line editor: A line editor focuses on editing at the line and sentence level. You’d find your line editor looking closely at word choice, tenses, punctuations, etc. A line editor is concerned about the readability of a manuscript. They also ensure the sentences in a book are as effective as they should be.
- Copy editor: When you think of spelling and grammar, think of a copy editor. A copy editor would tear your work apart for grammatical errors, typos, wrong sentence structure, and anything else that might affect the reader’s experience at the sentence level. Copy editors do not care about the story’s content, and they focus on readability, which is why they are confused with line editors. Some of the areas a copy editor would focus on are punctuation, capitalization, spelling, sentence structure, concord, and POV (point of view).
Do you still think you can do all the book editing yourself? Now, you should know that editing is not as easy as it looks, and even some people who call themselves editors get it wrong. I mean, editing a book does not mean you have the license to change the book’s essence. Some editors delete humour and anecdotes, and this should not be, especially if they are not excessive. Hence, there is some criterion to look out for before hiring an editor.
5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE HIRING AN EDITOR
- Work experience: Experience is the best teacher. Before giving your work to an editor, please find out how much experience they have in the field. Request for their portfolio, check out the jobs they’ve done, investigate the successes of the works they’ve edited. In editing, track records are vital. If you decide to give your work to a newbie, make sure your instructions are clear and hope for the best.
- Area of specialization: In medicine, there are general practitioners and specialists. The same goes for book editing. Be sure of the scope of the specialty of the editor before giving out your work. Consider your manuscript and decide what kind of editing would be most beneficial to it. Then assign it to an editor who specializes in that area.
- Charges: Editing costs money, but it is for the good of your work. Note that book editors charge according to expertise, the volume of your work, and your work complexities.
- Genre: It would be better to contract your editing with an editor specializing in the same genre. Editors outside your genre might not have the necessary skills and know-how your manuscript needs.
- Getting a sample edit: Request for a sample edit. A sample edit helps you know the editor is a good fit for your work. A few lines and page edit would help you make a choice.
Getting a book editor is crucial to the coming together of your work. If you can afford all editors, fine and good. But if you cannot, look out for what kind of editing is most crucial to your work and go ahead with it.