Five months ago I thought I was ready to jump in and send out query letters for a manuscript I thought I had completed. Doesn’t ten revisions and your critique groups nod of approval mean your MS is ready?
The MS was not ready, and neither was the query letter.
If I had followed my “hindsight is 20/20” advice and utilized the five tools after writing “The End,” I would have saved myself months of time, the rejection letter depression, and needless work. But that’s all in the past and that experience is lessons learned for the future.
In the last post I covered the first four suggestions to get your manuscript ready. (Disclaimer: these suggestions are based on my own experience).
The fifth tool to implement in revising your manuscript is finding a professional editor for your work.
This can be like looking for that proverbial needle in a haystack.
You can shift through 25 million Google results, that you’ll receive 44 seconds after pressing ‘enter,’ or you can use another plan of shifting through the abyss of results.
Before you start your search, decide on what type of editing you want for your MS and your budget.
Do you want a developmental editor to tell you where you have plot holes, where to revise, critique your characters, help your flow? Do you want pages of notes, chapter by chapter?
Or do you want a line/copy editing, where the editor addresses grammar and style but not the structure of the book, the voice or tone.
Are you willing and able to spend $500, $1000, or $2,000+ for an editor. If you can’t afford this perhaps sending in 100 pages of your novel will suffice and the editor’s comments can lead you in the right direction.
I decided on hiring a developmental editor. I wanted notes on plot structure, pacing, characters, and suggestions for revision. My budget was $1000.
After you’ve answered the above questions, you can start your search for a professional editor. Here is where I looked:
- Agents who blog– I follow Rachelle Gardners blog and found this list of freelance editors. Find which ones seem appropriate for the job.
- Genre freelance editors– Editors specialize. Use your search engine to find a freelance editor in your genre, i.e Christian Historical Fiction freelance editor. Under that search ‘only’ 1 million results are returned (just go to the first five or 10 names and research).
- Editorial Freelancers Association: This directory narrows your search.
- Ask a writer-On Facebook I follow several writers whose books I really enjoy. I picked three of them, who write in similar genres, and asked them who their editor was or if they could suggest an editor.
I thought the last one, ‘ask a writer,’ was a long shot, but this is how I found my editor, an author of three novels (two award winning), an MFA college instructor in creative writing, and who knew, but she is a freelance editor also. On her author page she listed her services.