A Lesson Learned

It was difficult, but I took the plunge. I reluctantly handed my baby over to the woman, praying she would take good care of her. I waited with bated breath as the days turned into weeks, and then a month.

“She said June 11,” I reminded myself.

June 9 came around and I received a message. “It’s complete. Once you send me $400.00+, I’ll return her to you.”

I rushed to Paypal and sent the money right away. Still, I had to wait another 24 hours. But, soon I’d have her in my hands again. I knew she would be the same, but polished, shiny, new and improved.

I held my breath and opened Word. And then…

Good editing is an art. Editors use a combination of knowledge and instinct to shape the author’s words. We listen to voice and mimic it when necessary to flesh out a weak spot. We pay attention to sentence structure, word order, inflection, pacing… I could go on and on, but you see the picture I’m painting.

Sadly to say, I did not receive a thorough editing. What was to be developmental editing, was actually grammar and minimal stylistic changes. By minimal I could count on one hand the editing completed on the first page.

Lesson learned.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I expected too much. Maybe comparing the depth of editing I complete, the dedication to making authors’ novels stand out among the crowd is wrong on my part.

Don’t get me wrong. It is my fault for not finding the right editor for me. In my defense, I interviewed four editors and spoke to seven or eight before narrowing my choice down.

What it boils down to is the interview process. Yes, interview your editor.

Read their website carefully. Check out their testimonials and the number of books they have edited. Don’t rely solely on this. My choice was partially based on the person’s experience. She had worked with a number of authors and her testimonials were good.

In the initial contact, spell out exactly what you are looking for. Leave nothing to chance. It may be as small as finding the … and changing them to em dashes, but be proactive here.

Ask the editor questions. Not the, how long does the process take kind, those come later. But things like, Has she edited children’s illustrated books? Will he look for accuracy on your historic romance? These types of questions will slow down the process, but will be helpful in the long run.

Get to know the editor. The three points above are great places to start, but remember you are looking for someone to work with long-term. So, see what you and your editor have in common. I put one item out there for prospective clients to see. I specialize editing erotic romance. My range of editing isn’t just novels. I have edited essays, business manuals, archive pieces alongside novels.

Let the edit know you. You as the author, but also you as a person. Yes, we’re all extremely busy, but again. You two will be working together for a long time. I edited a story one time, a short piece, and afterward found out the author lived less than two hours away. We don’t visit each other often, but we do keep in touch regularly. And that’s worth as much as the fee I received.

All in all, my experience was good with the editor I chose. She did some things well. I just happened to want more for the fee she charged. Again, let me reiterate. That is all my fault. So, lesson learned. Next time, I’ll take my own advice and find someone more compatible.





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