Further to yesterday’s blog post and also in response to a comment, I thought I’d write a little more about the editing process and how I came to choose my editor.
As someone planning to self-publish for the first time, I’ve been doing a lot of research. And nearly every self-published author I’ve seen interviewed has stressed the importance of working with a professional editor, stating that it’s an investment in your work. This made a lot of sense to me – there’s only so much editing I can do myself, so to have a professional viewpoint seemed to me a necessary next step in presenting a polished final product. So I started looking for an editor…
When it came to selecting an editor, there were two things that were important to me:
- That the editor had experience editing books in my genre (YA fantasy)
- That I was able to see reviews from previous clients
I mean after all, this was a step into the unknown for me. I was sending my manuscript to someone who was essentially a stranger, with no real idea of what I would get in return and paying for the privilege, so it was important that I did my research and, hopefully, find the right person for my book.
I started with a Google search, which led me to several different editing sites. The one that appealed to me was The Society For Editors and Proofreaders.
Formed in 1988, the Society is a professional organisation based in the UK for editors and proofreaders, and their website gave me a wealth of information about the process and costs of editing, as well as a directory of freelance editors. After searching the list I decided to approach Lucy York, who had a great deal of experience working on fantasy and YA novels for both publishers and self-published clients. Her reviews were great and she seemed to be the perfect fit for my book.
So I emailed her with an initial enquiry and received a quick response, asking for the first three chapters of my work and what type of edit I was looking for. After I sent through the information she’d asked for, Lucy was able to give me a start date and quote. I sent through my manuscript and, after a few weeks, was delighted to receive it back with a comprehensive edit so thorough it even picked up extra spaces and incorrect quotation marks.
While this was invaluable when it came to presenting a professional looking book, I was also very interested to hear what Lucy thought about the story structure overall. I was worried she might come back and say ‘this doesn’t make sense,’ or ask me to get rid of a much loved character. However, I was lucky. Lucy wrote and said how much she had enjoyed her trip to Ambeth, and that there was a lot to like about the book. However, she did have a few suggestions about areas of the plot she felt were a little flat. (This is where the ‘But…’ post came from yesterday). On reflection, however, I found that not only did I agree with her, but that the missing scenes came to me almost immediately, as though they had just been waiting for someone to alert me to their presence so we could finish the story properly.
So now I’m on the second part of the edit. I’ve made all the grammar and punctuation changes and now I’m going to be adding in those extra and changed scenes. Lucy will be looking over the manuscript again once I’ve made the changes and then, fingers crossed, I will finally be ready to publish.
Watch this space…
PS Lucy, being a freelance editor, charges at an hourly rate. For an idea on what these rates would be, check the Sfep website.