If you’ve been following my blog or know me professionally, you know I am a full-time freelance editor-cum-writer since a good number of years now. I have been editing manuscripts as an independent editor and once in a while I come across authors wanting to hire services of an editor but without any clarity on how to select a right one. Recently, someone wanted me to send samples of my editing. Now this is not how you select an editor. A paragraph of edited copy can not and will not help you decide the correct editor for your manuscript. Reason?
- Editing a manuscript is an all-round experience. Someone who is good with grammar can do an excellent job with that one para/page/chapter you want as a sample, but there is no guarantee that they’d be able to tie all loose ends, check plot continuity and character definitions, and basically be a second mother to your manuscript. How good is your grammatically correct manuscript if it has loopholes and weak characters? Not much.
- No editor worth their salt should be okay with sending fresh samples of editing. Think again, does the person not know how in-depth the process of editing actually is?
- Lastly, editing is more than writing. Getting ‘an idea’ is not enough. You will need to be more knowledgeable about the editor you are about to select.
So what can you do? Easy.
- Ask for references. Speak to authors the editor has worked with and get their point of views. Your editor will be more than willing to divulge with one or two names. People who have paid for the services, will always tell you the truth. You can also buy one of those books and read to check, if you wish to be that stringent.
- Ask the editor for the link to their own blog. Mine is this, for example. I write blogposts for two reasons – to spread information like in this post, and to create a database of my writings. This is for prospective clients to see my writing skills. I aslo have links to published articles from my journalism days and from recent times, uploaded in this website for even more clarity on how I write. How I write would be directly proportional to how I will edit.
- Speak to your author friends. Make sure these authors are those who had hired an editor and their books were well-edited. The easiest thing to do is take reference from people you know and connect with an experience editor.
It really is very simple. Yet, extremely crucial.
Remember that good editing comes with a cost. A cheap service provider cannot be a good editor and if they are, they shouldn’t be selling their services for cheap. Every good thing comes with a price, so please be prepared.
If you have reached this post because you are looking to hire services of a writer or an editor, here is where you can know more about services I offer and a rough estimate of what it will cost you.