When I began my search for an editor, let me tell you, it was a bit of a disaster. The first person I contacted was very nice and overall did a decent job with the sample edit – but there were some mistakes. The next few people I chatted with couldn’t give me any references and seemed insulted when I asked – that was a big red flag to me. Then I had someone actually say they wouldn’t do a sample edit because they shouldn’t have to prove their editing skills to me … YIKES. I’m sorry (not sorry), but if I’m paying you to do a job, yes, you should prove your qualifications to me.
These are my top five takeaways from my experience and what I learned from other indie authors.
1. Don’t Settle!
Don’t hire the first editor you find. Find one who has worked in your genre. Make sure to find a few to compare and get a few sample edits to compare as well. Also, decide what kind of editing you’re looking for: developmental, copy editing, line editing, etc.
Get multiple quotes and be weary of ones that seem like a good deal – it’s probably too good to be true. I had quotes that ranged from $200 up to $2000 (prices will also depend on the length of your book).
Don’t be scared to ask for references from the editor & check in with those references. If the editor is just starting out – you’ll have to use your judgment w/ this. Since this was my first book I wanted someone who was well-established.
4. Sample Edits
The editor should offer a test edit for you, normally 1000 words or so. If they don’t offer that, I would politely decline & move on to the next one. You want to make sure that they are as good as they say they are!
I can’t stress this enough. One thing I LOVE about my editor is his quick communication. I know if I send him an email I’ll hear back from him within the hour. If you send out a request & don’t hear back for weeks, or they disappear in the middle of discussing what you want to do – run the other way. Make sure you find someone that’s reliable.
Final reminder – This is your book “baby” after all – put it in the right hands! Be picky and don’t be scared to ask questions! You want to feel confident with your decision and know you are making the best decisions to help you achieve your self-publishing goals!