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How to Hire an Editor: The Indie Author’s Guide to Finding and Working with the Right Editor for Your Book

How to Hire an Editor: The Indie Author’s Guide to Finding and Working with the Right Editor for Your Book

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How to Hire an Editor: The Indie Author’s Guide to Finding and Working with the Right Editor for Your Book

165 pages
1 heure
Apr 27, 2014


“The first critical step in self-publishing your book is finding a great editor. Sarah’s book will pay for itself 100 times over.”
—Mark Levine, CEO of Hillcrest Media Group and author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing

For authors new to independent publishing, the idea of hiring an editor can set off all sorts of questions. What does an editor do? Do I really need an editor for my book? How do I know what kind of editing my book needs? Where can I find beta readers? How can I find a great editor when I’m not an editor myself?

The Indie Author’s Guide to Book Editing answers these questions and shows new authors how to get their manuscripts the editorial attention they deserve, even with a self-publisher’s unique production schedule, budget constraints, and publishing goals.

If you know know your needs editing but you’re just not sure where to start, The Indie Author’s Guide to Book Editing will demystify the process. You’ll discover effective ways to self-edit, work with beta readers, avoid scams and unqualified editors, and find the perfect editor for your book.

Apr 27, 2014

À propos de l'auteur

Sarah Kolb-Williams is a writer, editor, and serial comma enthusiast from the Twin Cities.

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How to Hire an Editor - Sarah Kolb-Williams

How to Hire an Editor

The Indie Author’s Guide to Finding and Working with the Right Editor for Your Book

by Sarah Kolb-Williams

Copyright © 2014 Sarah Kolb-Williams

PO Box 14274

St. Paul, MN 55114


Smashwords Edition

ISBN: 978-0-9896993-1-0

All rights reserved.

Editing: Kellie M. Hultgren, KMH Editing


As a freelance editor who works with first-time self-publishers, I’ve noticed a common thread over the past few years. Most authors I talk to understand the importance of professional editing, but they aren’t always sure exactly what that means or how to go about obtaining it.

I’ve seen the same questions over and over again:

What does an editor do?

Do I really need an editor?

How do I know what kind of editing my book needs?

How far can I take my manuscript on my own?

Where do I find beta readers, and how can I get the most out of beta reading?

What should I do if I’m happy with the job my editor did? What if I’m unhappy?

How can I select a good editor when I’m not an editor myself?

It’s not that information isn’t available, but a great deal of it is slanted toward traditional publishing, leaving indie authors to fit the pieces together on their own in ways that are meaningful to their manuscripts, publishing goals, and budgets.

What This Book Offers

By the end of this book, you should be able to:

understand the different types of manuscript editing available to you

revise and restructure your work with self-editing and other feedback

find the perfect freelance editor for your book, budget, and publication goals

navigate and negotiate a freelance contract

review tracked changes with the view settings you find most agreeable

look at your own writing process in a new way

With How to Hire an Editor, you will learn to develop your manuscript on your own and with beta readers so that when it comes to hiring a professional, you can spend your money on what you really need. Then, you’ll learn where to look for editors and how to choose (and hire) the one who best fits your project. Finally, you’ll learn what it’s like to actually work with an editor, from reviewing tracked changes to building an ongoing writer–editor relationship.

Who This Book is For

While anyone interested in the role of editing in the indie world will find something useful here, this book will be most helpful to authors planning to revise their own manuscripts, then hire an editor to finish the process.

If you’re open to exchanging money for editorial feedback, this book will help you on that path.

If you’re not, this may not be the book for you.

How This Book Is Organized

This book covers many steps in a complicated and variable editorial process. However, that process is not always a linear one, and different authors will enter and exit it at different points. Use this book in a way that works for you: read it straight through, or use the following annotated table of contents to jump right to the sections that interest you most.

Chapter 1: What Editing Means for Independent Authors

This chapter explores why readers expect quality, consistency, and industry-standard style, and how professional editing can enhance these aspects of your book. We’ll also look at how quality impacts book sales, as well as your reputation as an author.

Chapter 2: The Many Layers of Editing

Editing comes in many forms, and the terms used to describe them aren’t always consistent across the industry. This chapter looks at the terms you might encounter and tries to pin down some of the most common—developmental editing, substantive editing, copyediting, and proofreading—so you can approach any freelance editor about listed services.

Chapter 3: Self-Edit like an Editor

While not meant to replace your own unique revision process (or the services of a professional editor), this chapter arms you with tips and tricks editors use to whip manuscripts into shape. You’ll get the most out of self-editing if you mirror a professional editor’s approach: start big with developmental editing, hone in with substantive editing and copyediting, and deliver the final polish with proofreading.

Chapter 4: Beta Feedback and Ongoing Development

After you’ve revised as much as possible on your own, it’s time to bring other people into the picture. This chapter shows you how to work with beta readers—where to find them, how to set realistic expectations, and how to ask the most productive questions—and includes resources to help you develop your craft, both now and in the future.

Chapter 5: Letting Go and Looking for an Editor

New authors sometimes find it difficult to reach out to a publishing professional for the first time. In this chapter, I respond to common concerns and identify places to look for an editor, including personal recommendations, social media, and professional associations and organizations.

Chapter 6: Hiring an Editor

This chapter outlines one way to approach editors and confirm that they have the training, background, contract terms, and preferences that make them the best fit for your project. I look at questions to ask and describe potential hiccups in the process that may or may not be warning signs.

Chapter 7: Reviewing an Electronically Edited Manuscript

Editors typically work electronically. This chapter provides a step-by-step guide to reviewing electronically edited documents and suggests an initial combination of setting options to help you understand the range of features and customize your own experience. Screenshots of Microsoft Word’s tracked changes feature—including both PC and Mac versions—make this chapter a helpful resource for authors who haven’t worked with these tools before.

Chapter 8: Wrapping Up

This chapter addresses the end of the editing process, after you’ve reviewed the final changes. It offers suggestions for showing your editor your appreciation, as well as options for dealing with disagreements.

Thank you for purchasing How to Find an Editor. I hope you find it useful on your journey.


What Editing Means for Independent Authors

Self-published authors have vast potential for greatness.

They also have vast potential for failure.

When self-publishing first became a viable (if not always affordable) way to get a book out into the world, the options were not good. Self-publishing companies offered strictly tiered publication packages, and charged a great deal of money for varying degrees of quality. Vanity publishers proliferated, out-marketing companies that did have their authors’ best interests at heart. It was possible but difficult for well-informed authors to truly publish independently; most could only do their research, try not to sign any important rights away, and hope they wouldn’t go broke in the process.

That bleak landscape has grown into a vibrant, thriving community, a tribe of indie authors who have carved their own places in the publishing industry. That tribe’s shared knowledge and experiences and its steady demand for a sea change in independent publishing have led to better experiences and broader and more accessible publishing options for indies today.

Self-published authors have vast potential for greatness. They also have vast potential for failure. It’s harsh, but it’s true: one 2012 survey of self-published authors revealed that half of them made $500 or less on their books in 2011, and it’s likely that most of them spent far more than that. A full quarter of authors failed to recoup their publishing costs. [1]

Most authors understand the risks involved in publishing, but most would also love to join the likes of Amanda Hocking and E. L. James in beating the odds. While it’s never wise to bet everything on a lightning strike, there are very real steps authors can take to improve their book’s chances of success. These steps include professional cover design, attractive interior formatting—and professional editing.

The Importance of Editing

If I had to choose one word to use to describe today’s independent authors, it would be scrappy. These days, anyone with the time, inclination, and willingness to learn can sidestep publishing packages entirely, taking charge of what they know

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