Today I welcome author Natalia Leigh onto my blog, who shares her advice on hiring an editor when you are a self-published author. Enjoy!
Big thanks to Natalia for being today’s guest poster, please make sure to check out her links and details at the end of this post.
As an author and freelance editor, I get asked all the time, “Do I really need to hire an editor?”
So I wanted to take the time to explore different types of editors, why you might want to hire one, and how to go about hiring an editor if you decide it’s a good choice for you and your book.
Types of Editors
There are different types of editors, and I’m going to touch on three main types you’ll want to know about as a self-publishing author.
A developmental editor handles big-picture edits—they’ll be the editor that assists you with the content in your story.
They’re like a professional beta reader, and it’s their job to read your story and look for plot holes, character inconsistencies, character development, consistent tone, and more.
A copy editor handles the nitty-gritty aspects of editing your novel. In addition to editing for spelling, syntax, and grammar, they’ll also be looking for consistency in terms of style and voice.
A copy editor shouldn’t be hired until after your story elements are solidified—you don’t want to hire a copy editor and then hire a developmental editor, because then all the work your copy editor did might become useless if you have to rewrite major sections of your novel.
A proofreader is one of the last people to get their hands on your work.
A proofreader typically works with a physical copy of your book—a proof—and it’s their job to ensure proper formatting, page numbering, etc., on top of looking for any errors your copy editor may have missed, or that may have been input while you were doing your final round of edits.
A proofreader shouldn’t be hired until your work has gone through a tedious copy edit, either by you or your editor.
Why Should I Hire an Editor?
Editors, especially good ones, can be expensive, so I understand the hesitation that many writers feel when trying to decide whether to hire an editor or not.
I didn’t hire an editor for my first two books, both because I was new to publishing and didn’t really know what I was doing, and also because I simply didn’t have the funds available.
But for my third book, Song of the Dryad, I hired a copy editor and was incredibly pleased with the final result. The work was high-quality, but it was expensive for sure, over $1,000, to be honest.
So when deciding whether to hire an editor or not, I think you need to look at a few specifics.
- What kind of editor would be most helpful?
- What kind of budget do you have?
- What do you ultimately want to get out of self-publishing?
Some people hire developmental editors, while others prefer to utilize beta readers and critique partners.
I personally advocate for hiring a copy editor, because I’ve read too many self-published books that are overflowing with typos and errors, which can make a reader put your book down and walk away for good.
But you also need to ask yourself: What are my goals in self-publishing? Do you just want to write one book and share it with friends and family? Well, you probably don’t need an editor for that.
But if you want to make a career out of this, then I recommend taking a more professional approach and hiring an editor to help polish your work so that it’s in the best shape it can be when it lands in the hands of your readers.
How Do I Hire an Editor?
If you decide to move forward with hiring an editor, I recommend you do your research and make sure you’re hiring a professional who can do the job they claim to be able to do.
It’s easy to make a website and call yourself an editor, even if you don’t have any experience, so beware of those less-than-truthful types.
I recommend starting your search through the Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA).
They have a search feature that you can use to find editors that do the specific job you’re looking for, down to the age category or genre you write in.
I’d recommend making a list of 5-10 editors you’re interested in, and then contact them for a sample edit. Most editors, myself included, offer sample edits for free. Some editors charge for this service, so just keep that in mind.
After receiving your sample edits, I’d choose between 2-4 editors you’re still interested in working with and ask for a quote. You’ll also need to know your editing timeframe because many editors book out in advance, so you’ll want to start this process early to make sure your preferred editor will be able to get you on their calendar.
After scheduling with an editor, make sure you get a contract signed that will protect both you and your editor if something goes wrong. From that point, you can kick back and relax! Until you get your edit notes, of course. 😉
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About Natalia Leigh
Natalia Leigh graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a concentration in creative writing. Her most recent novel for young adults is Song of the Dryad.
Natalia is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and owns an indie publishing house, Enchanted Ink Publishing, where she offers high-quality editing for both indie authors and those pursuing traditional publication.
When not writing, she can usually be found cuddling her two adorable cats, playing video games, or eating vegan pizza.
Song of the Dryad
Seventeen-year-old Charlotte Barclay is still haunted by an encounter she had eight years ago – a run-in with a fairy beast that had eyes like witchlight and a taste for flesh.
Charlotte has avoided the Greenwood ever since, pretending fairies don’t exist and choosing instead to focus her energies on graduating from high school and perfecting her audition piece for the Bellini Institute.
However, everything changes when her mom goes missing, kidnapped by the fairies that haunt the forest behind Charlotte’s home.
When Charlotte’s search for her mom leads her into the fairy realm, she discovers that she hails from a line of Shrine Keepers – humans tasked with maintaining ancient fairy shrines.
Charlotte’s family has failed their duties to the fae, and now she has no choice but to strike a deal with the dryad, an ancient and powerful tree nymph responsible for her mom’s disappearance.
But the dryad only gives her a month to complete her task: retrieve five stolen fairy stones and return them to the ancient fairy shrine. If she doesn’t return the stones in time, the dryad has threatened to imprison another of Charlotte’s loved ones.
Charlotte dives into a world as magical as it is deadly, coming face-to-face with fairy creatures that never get mentioned in the storybooks – including the creature that haunts her dreams. She must embrace her task and conquer her fears, or else she’ll never see her mom again.
This post was written by a guest writer. Please check out their details above.