When I finished writing my first novel, I was over the moon that I had written my story which became such a significant part of my life in the past year. The characters brought out emotions in me where I felt I was on this journey with them since I knew them so well. What I didn’t expect was the next steps in trying to figure out if I should hire a professional editor and if so, what type of editing should I have them do? Proofreading, copy editing, line editing, or developmental editing?
Many people in an online writer’s community also told me to just hire beta readers and use Grammarly, however after researching what many other successful authors have done, it is recommended to hire a professional editor to catch any mistakes, which I believe is one of the most powerful investments you can make prior to publishing.
This is only after doing all of your own editing, which I did over and over using Grammarly until I felt I couldn’t look at my manuscript any longer with fresh eyes. An editor can show you ways to correct and improve your work, which in turn can help you learn how to refine your writing ability. This is especially important to me as a first time writer.
Types Of Book Editing
Proofreading – This kind of editing focuses on typos, repeated words, spelling, punctuation, and formatting issues. Proofreading is normally the last pair of eyes on your book before it is published. It’s the last chance to catch an error before the reader may find it and points it out which could ultimately lead to negative reviews and hurt your book sales.
Copy Editing – This type of editing addresses grammar, consistency, and usage. An author can easily lose track of small details over creating their story in their book, something as simple as the color of a character’s eyes to how their name is spelled. Small errors lead to a big problem in the flow of your story. As an example, my fiance read my manuscript and caught that I had mentioned the main character was originally in her nightgown and had gone to get dressed and then in the next chapter, she was still in her nightgown. I had never even caught that when I had written it in the story that way, which would have been a huge mistake.
Line Editing – This kind of editing involves recasting sentences for clarity and flow. It can also include moving sentences around so that your meaning is clear. This will help with transitions from one paragraph to the next and to make sure that your meaning is not lost in too many big words. The last thing you want to do is confuse your readers.
Developmental Editing – This style of editing includes the structure of the book and how everything pieces together. Sometimes, it’s necessary to move large chunks of text around and cutting some sections, while reassembling them so the story comes together more naturally.
Editing Can Be Complicated
So, how is a writer supposed to figure out what kind of editor they need to hire and what type of editing to choose for their book or novel? Let me back up for a minute on why I didn’t choose a beta reader. A beta reader is typically a friend or family member who gives you their opinion on your manuscript. My personal take after researching what other authors have said is that beta reading is the non-professional or cheap version of an editor’s manuscript assessment. Some may disagree.
The way I feel is that my novel is like my baby and I don’t want to put it out there in the world with mistakes or with any inconsistencies in the story. In my opinion, hiring a professional editor is invaluable in enhancing the overall quality of a book’s language and can ensure that it reaches a publishable standard. I have chosen to do a copy edit for my book with a final proofread to make sure I publish with absolute confidence.
What To Expect When Hiring An Editor
When I was researching editor’s, I didn’t realize that there could be a substantial waiting time for them to review your manuscript but I think that any professional editor has a waiting period as this shows they are working with other writers/authors and provides peace of mind for me that I am working with someone reputable.
How much editing costs can often depend on the length of your manuscript and how quickly you want it completed. Rates vary of course from one professional editor to another as some editors may charge per word and others per page. In my case, the editor asked to read the first 10 pages of my manuscript so she could determine if she could work with me. Based on my 50,000-word manuscript and her review of these pages, I was told it would be approximately $400 for a copy edit, which I look at as a smart investment.
When Is The Right Time To Hire An Editor?
Consider these questions when thinking it’s time to hire an editor:
Have I done my own self-editing?
Do I understand the cost, time and money of hiring a professional editor?
Do I understand the difference in all types of editing?
Every writer suffers from self-doubt that their book will even be good enough. I have read that even successful authors who have written many books still feel this way. I have definitely felt this as well but it is just fear and fear is not going to hold me back from putting my book out there. If anything, I know that I want to have a flawless novel that goes out into the world once published. It could mean the difference between a book that is successful and one that isn’t. Who wants to really read a story filled with mistakes or typos?
The most important thing is to know the different types of editing and to decide what is right for you. You should assess what you need against what an editor you choose to work with can provide as well as the cost. Book your editing with them in advance as professional editors are usually booked weeks or even months out. This is an exciting stage. I know it is for me as a first time writer.
For most people, successfully publishing a novel really is a dream come true. The important thing to remember after all of the struggles of getting there is that you did it. Just don’t forget the most vital step in this process is hiring a professional editor. Enjoy the journey.