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What influences the decision to hire an editor?
- What your budget is – might you use friends or fellow writing-group members to help you out with final proofreads or structural work?
- What your expertise is
- What level of editing you feel comfortable doing yourself and what you need help with
- What your genre or subject focus is
- The kind of personality fit you’re looking for
- The time frame you want the job turned around in
- What your publishing goals are: are you working with an agent, or doing it yourself?
- Who you audience is
Where should you spend your editing budget?
non-fiction, and you’re writing for a niche market, you might well be providing something that’s less entertainment and more educational. So for example, if you’re a marketer, and you’ve written a book that helps people learn how to be visible, and you’ve already got a platform because of your job, you might be able to sell your book more quickly. And that will give you more confidence in investing in editing, knowing you’re going to get that return.
marketers that me and Denise know. They’re really well known in their field, so when they launched their books, The HippoCampus and Content Mavericks, they were already confident that they could sell a lot of those quickly because they were already known and trusted. So they knew that anything they spent on editing was going to be a good investment.
Where does your own expertise lie?
business or educational materials, and if you’ve got an academic background, you’ll already know how that material needs to be structured, so perhaps you’ll be more confident about NOT working with a developmental editor; maybe you’ll decide to focus on investing in copyediting that corrects the text. Or perhaps – and I think this would apply to fiction as well – maybe you know you have a really strong command of English language and grammar so you might feel you would benefit from a professional proofread rather than a full copyedit.
Do you need a specialist editor?
Consider your schedule (and the editor's!)
about time frame now, because some writers definitely need to the kind of editor who
specializes in quick turnarounds. I get a lot of enquires from authors who want a quick
turnaround because they’re hoping to get their fiction out in time for Christmas or for some big convention or writing event. But sometimes it’s just because they’re ready to get going now. Because of the length of the project it’s not usually possible to help someone who isn’t booking well in advance. But what’s the situation for non-fiction?
What is your publishing process?
publishers, when the publishers they’re hoping to work with include editing and proofreading as part of their service. So it’s really important to work out what’s on offer from the people you’re publishing through.
talked about – working out where your writing and self-editing strengths and weaknesses lie. So let’s talk about audience – that will definitely determine what kind of editor you use.
Who is your audience?
creating for friends and family, a way of passing down your family history, you might decide that good enough is enough. You might get a copyedit to sort out your spelling, grammar and punctuation, and make sure everything’s consistent and readable, but you’re not going to be worried about whether it’ll get five stars on Amazon because you’re not putting it out there. Or you might just decide to do everything yourself.
To summarise ...
time for Editing Bites! This is our weekly feature where we each recommend a tool or
resource for you. What have you got for us this week, Louise?
Editing Bites: resources for writers
put me at ease. Thanks, Tim – you’re a star! THe other thing I should mention is that he also interviews authors, so you get really good insights from other writers.