bookmark_borderI Think You’ll Benefit from Working With a Book Editor

These days, a whole niche industry is dedicated to telling you that absolutely anyone can write, format, and publish a book — the self-publishing industry, of course. It doesn’t take more than a few hours of (often excruciatingly painful) reading to discover that many “authors” take this endless optimism a little too seriously. 

Whether you have already decided to self-publish your manuscript, or you are hoping to be traditionally published after partnering with a literary agent, it’s essential to embrace one undeniable truth. The book may be yours, but writing an excellent book isn’t a solitary endeavor. No matter how good you are, you can’t go solo all the way and still produce a quality end result. Your book will need to be professionally edited, and perhaps by more than one person. 

How do you find a book editor to work with? 

Your first step lies in determining what kind of editing your manuscript needs at the moment. 

Developmental editors examine the broad strokes. They spot plot holes and weaknesses in fiction, criticize the way in which you decide to start your first chapter, and spot logical errors in chapter progression in the case of non-fiction works. If your manuscript isn’t quite there yet, you may instead benefit from an editorial assessment, in which authors received detailed reports on the work that still needs doing before they move to the next step. 

Copy editing scrutinizes your individual paragraphs, sentences, and word choices more closely. Your structure or plot are already in place, and now it’s time to tighten and beautify your book. At this level, a book editor examines your use of tenses, your grammar, any inconsistencies, and your flow. Fact-checking may also be part of this stage of editing. 

Finally, you may want a proofreader to put the very smallest details under the microscope, ensuring that no typos, grammatical errors, and outright mistakes remain. A proofreader can also make sure that the style of your manuscript is consistent throughout. 

Now that you know what kind of book editor you need, it’s time to look around for one. Unless you already have relevant industry connections, that process is, in today’s world, going to involve the internet. Dedicated marketplaces for editors, editors’ own websites, and social media are all good ways to begin exploring your options. 

Once you have a few potential editors in mind, you will want to follow up by combing through reviews from past clients. Especially if you have a long manuscript, it is perfectly normal and acceptable to ask prospective book editors to put you in touch with some previous clients. That way, you can gain a better idea of what it would be like to work with the editor, and what level of quality you can expect from them. 

The type of scrutiny you apply will depend on your manuscript — if you have a short ebook, which may be no longer than 10,000 words, you may not vet your book editor as well as you may in the case of a full-length manuscript. If you do have one of those, and you are hoping to be traditionally published, look for book editors with a proven track record in the publishing industry. They’ll have edited at least 10 books, and they’ll have worked as a book editor for at least a few years.

Your initial communication with potential book editors is going to tell you more about what working with them will be like — and at this stage, you can typically immediately tell if you simply dislike the editor or their approach. Once you hit it off with a book editor with proven experience, and you have confidence in their work and abilities, you can go ahead and sign a contract. 

bookmark_borderFinding proofreading services

Proofreading is the final stage once you’re done with writing. It’s the process of checking the whole body of work to find any error or mistake. It’s not just about finding spelling or grammar errors. It is also about finding:

  1. Smaller errors that can avoid notice unless you’re careful, such as punctuation errors or misrepresented facts.
  2. Stylization and coherence or consistency issues in the copy.
  3. Finding gaps, plot holes, missed opportunities, or skipped details, especially in fiction writing and novels.

In general, the entire point of proofreading is to make the work better. You should never greenlight your work to be sent to publishers or editors before you have done due diligence on your end and proofread the entire body end-to-end first. It can help you avoid certain awkward mistakes.

What are proofreading services and how can you hire a proofreader?

Proofreading services or freelance proofreaders both work pretty much the same way. They read your manuscript, not as a fellow writer or a reader. They go through the body of work with a critical eye.

With their experience comes their ability to make out even the subtlest of mistakes. They can be a great help in improving your text.

Going for a proofreader is highly recommended before you prepare the first draft. Often, it’s the proofreader who prepares the first draft of your manuscript that’s ready to be shared.

There are plenty of services that allow you to hire proofreaders or editors for your stories, poems, novels, or other types of texts.

A fresh pair of eyes and a different perspective allows a proofreader to go through the body of text critically and not skip over any mistakes. It’s very efficient in terms of the time consumed to get proofreading done by a professional.

Don’t hurry. Finding the right proofreader is bound to take time. The more seasoned proofreaders also have availability issues and they are pretty expensive. If you manage to find a proofreader ideal for your work then give them some time with your manuscript. Proofreading isn’t a perfect science with hard and fast rules. If you put pressure on the proofreader to finish their job fast or if you’re unreceptive to critical feedback then the whole process can break down.

Be patient and give the proofreader the time they need. They need to be in a relaxed state of mind to make the best decisions for your text.

Often proofreaders also have actionable advice and meaningful insights that can improve the text. Working closely with the proofreader and keeping a communication channel open will ensure the best results.

Being the reader of your own work

Self-proofreading is still an option. Larger texts should also be proofread by you first before being sent to a professional proofreader or editor. 

Writing in a flow often makes us take turns we wouldn’t find rational or suitable when reading. The proofreading process can iron out the details and enable you to smooth out some rough edges in the written word.

Overall, it can vastly improve the consistency to proofread the work once.

Remember, you’re the writer. The writer doesn’t necessarily know what’s best for the reader. Perhaps you’ve dragged a little something way too long for the reader’s comfort. Or maybe it’s something entirely different.

Seeing the manuscript from the reader’s point of view can help greatly.

First – completely forget that you’re the one writing. Be the reader. Read your manuscript as if you are reading the work of someone else.