Finally, after years of slogging through your manuscript, you've finished your first book. Exhilarating, right? There’s no other feeling in the world like it (except maybe giving birth to your first child). Before you rush off to show it to a literary agent (or a print-on-demand company) though, there’s one thing you need to do first: you must have it professionally edited. Publishers hate receiving manuscripts riddled with grammatical and other errors. Given the number of self-published authors out there, whether for POD books or eBooks, you need to stand out from the crowd. You can do this by ensuring that you (and your work!) appear professional. You might say you don’t need an editor, that you have checked your manuscript a thousand times and you’re confident that it’s error-free. You have even asked your friends to go through it, and they all said it was perfect. Well, here’s a news flash for you: when it comes to editing and proofreading a manuscript, you will need a fresh pair of eyes to spot those typos, grammatical errors, and other language misuse. Friends and family members don’t count; they’re not objective enough. You don’t count too, as you’re so familiar with your work already that you no longer see the errors in it, no matter how blatant they may be. If it’s your first time to hire an editor, the task can be daunting. Here are some tips to help you get started. Have the proper mindset. Before working with an editor, make sure you understand that editors are your friend. Any corrections (or suggestions) made by them are supposed to make your work better. Some writers (especially newbies) are sensitive about their work; don’t be. If you want to succeed as a published author, you need to develop thicker skin and learn to take constructive criticisms. Hire a professional to help you with your book. Given the rates of professional editors, it may be tempting to just hire anybody with a college degree. One word: don’t. Not everyone who graduates from college can do editing work. It’s a craft, a skill that can be developed through time and experience. You will need someone with experience, not a newbie who needs to be told what to do. You need someone who can help you tighten up your work and correct all the errors you’ve missed. Only a professional editor can do that. Tap online marketplaces to find good editors at affordable prices. While it’s essential that you hire a professional, it doesn't mean that you have to break the bank while at it. There are many online marketplaces nowadays with a large pool of affordable editorial talent. You can check out oDesk or Elance, two of the biggest global online employment platforms nowadays. That being said… …pay fairly and don’t hire the lowest bidder! When you post a job in these online marketplaces, you will learn that there are people who are willing to be paid bottom-feeder rates just to get a job. Before you’re tempted to hire the woman who says she will edit your manuscript for $1/hr, though, remember the adage “You get what you pay for.” Value your book; hire an editor who knows her worth because she’ll be likely to take pride in editing your work too. Do your due diligence in hiring an editor. Don’t rush into hiring one; make sure that you are a good fit for each other so that you don’t waste time and money. In deciding who’s the best fit, check out the editor’s:
- Years of experience
- Work background
- Client testimonials, and if possible, some references
- Work sample so you can see how he/she does the work, and
- Timetable/scheduled date of completion.