Choosing an Editor

I’ve sought out several editors and received a few sample reviews. As an author you either feel elated to get some feedback or dread any kind of feedback. After my first book, I was dreading any kind of feedback. Imagine building something tangible, something that you think is the most fantastic thing to ever brew forth from your imagination, and then imagine someone comes by and tells you what could be better. That’s how it feels to send a manuscript to editing.

But there’s more. Perhaps you have heard of the author’s voice. This is the mannerism in which an author writes: short sentences, long sentences, lots of detail, lots of dialogue, minimal dialogue, to the point, and so much more. This way of telling a story is an extension of the author. It is a creative process built on blood, sweat, tears, and lots and lots of hallucinations and voices. We tell a story the way we see fit . . .

Then enter the editor to tell us what we saw fit isn’t what the reader sees fit. And so ensues a battle of the creative process. There are things to consider when getting an editor, here is my list:

  • Get a sample edit of at least 1,000 words
  • Explain your voice
  • Give a small synopsis of your story
  • Explain what you expect: line editing, review, developmental, copy editing, etc
  • Know the cost up front. Don’t waste your time or theirs.
  • Ask for references
  • Be leery of all cash up front services. Ask if there is a payment plan, and ask for an invoice of services.
  • Be sure they work in your genre
  • Ask what the ETA of editing is

There are things an author needs to be prepared for:

  • The cold hard truth
  • Lots of red marks
  • Changes to your words
  • Changes of entire sentences
  • Lots and lots of advise

Before you submit a manuscript to editing be sure you are mentally prepared. Limber up. Eat healthy. Watch funny movies. Do anything that gets you in a good frame of mind. When your manuscript comes back, you may want to do that all over again. Take a deep breath, hug a kitty, then send the kitty away because you don’t want to harm anyone of anything when you open the file.

Above all, remember you own creative rights. You don’t have to change a damn thing. That being said, after you read it the first time, walk away for a day or two and then come back after the dust has settled. Keep an open mind always.

As for me, its time to choose my editor.

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Reading the Red Stuff

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