How to Find an Editor

I’ve had a few people ask recently for how to get an editor. I don’t know why I’m getting these questions – I figure it’s either because:

  1. My editing is so pro people want a slice o’ that ass, or
  2. They’re trying to drop a subtle hint that I should look into getting an editor.

Let’s go with column A. I typed out a long-ish response to a query yesterday, so replicated it (mostly) below. It’s timely, as I’ve just started editing 377,000 words of The Splintered Land – so, reminders are always good, hey?

Requests for editors circle around three issues.

  • How to find one.
  • What a good one looks like.
  • Getting one at a fair price.

The short answer is Tiffany is amazing and you can find her and ask for a quote here: Now, the longer version.

First up, you need to be okay with critique (not criticism). My manuscripts look a lot like this when they come back from the Red Queen:

But I’m okay with that, because she’s not saying, “You suck,” which is what a few writers fear with an editorial relationship. Her job’s making my stuff better, and you can only do that losing a limb or two.

Maybe that’s the wrong analogy.

As for the other two questions: if you’ll forgive me a slight side trip into writer arcanum, editing is a process rather than a product.

Think of it like this. Different writers have … different skills and gaps, right? Like, same with basketball players or whatever. We’re not all awesome at everything, but understanding our gaps is a bit of a trick. It’s one of the reasons (with editing) why some people find a certain editor amazing, but another finds them shit.

There are lots of editors and editing styles. Proofreading catches typos, copyediting is about readability and narrative or factual errors, structural edits give you indications of flat spots or plot pockets holes, and so on. Me? I don’t use a human proofer in my process, because I solve that a different way. I don’t want a narrative editor because IT’S MY DAMN STORY HANDS OFF. But I suck at copyediting, where you find things like echoes (use of the same word in the same sentence, or in adjacent sentences), as well as slight errors (did Kohl wear a blue sweater in this scene and a red one in the next paragraph?).

So, when I went hire to fill that gap, I hunted for a copyeditor. I need Tiffany to do what she does best in the lane I need, and we’ve worked out a good system where she gives me ALLLLLLL the feedback, and then I incorporate what I need from the edit to smooth over my gaps.

Cost vs. return? A good editor will do a sample edit for you, usually a page or under 1,000 words, to show you what you get for your money. There are a truly *wild* range of prices out there, but in my experience those don’t normally mean higher quality (as quality is subjective and dependent on what you need in your editing lane). Higher pricing can mean faster turnaround times, or easier scheduling, or a higher number of passes (for example, I think Tiffany does a read-through, then an edit pass, then a final read-through; higher-priced editors might do 2 or more editing passes as an example).

It’s not uncommon to use more than one editor, too. Like, you can get copyediting from two people as even editors have their blind spots.

And there we leave it. Hire what you need in your lane. Do your research on their fit. Find someone you can work with. And make that book awesome.

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