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If you're a self-publisher, how do you go about finding an editor?  (When I say this, I'm not asking for advice finding an editor.)

 

Do you do your own editing, or do you hire someone.

 

How many editing passes do you perform on your manuscript?

 

What do you look for in an editor?

 

How do you find an editor that reflects your writing style?

 

 

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2 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

Do you do your own editing, or do you hire someone.

 

Both. I self-edit drafts for beta-readers. After any changes have been made, I'll self-edit anything that requires further beta-reader review. Once the story is locked in, I'll send it off to my editor. 

 

2 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

How many editing passes do you perform on your manuscript?

 

Self-edits: numerous (depends on many factors).

Final edit: ideally once.

 

2 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

What do you look for in an editor?

 

I'm extremely fortunate to have a friend who is willing to edit my work. She is more than qualified and gets down to the nitty-gritty - punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, too many uses of the same word, etc. She'll even note when something doesn't seem clear enough, although that's a bonus. I look to my beta-readers to weed out those issues.

 

My editor is also old-school. She wants a printed, double spaced manuscript, and goes through it with a red pen. It may seem strange, but I love getting the manuscript back and seeing all the red ink. That means she found all the hidden errors that got past me. It gives me a big boost in confidence when publishing, because early on I used to do my own editing. I'll just say that my heart sank too many times when I re-read my first published book and found error after error. 

 

2 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

How do you find an editor that reflects your writing style?

 

Since my editor is an old friend, she understands my style and audience focus. If I had to hire one, I guess I'd conduct and interview session to get a better feel for that person's experience and preferences.  

 

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3 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

If you're a self-publisher, how do you go about finding an editor?

Also not self-published, but going to take a stab at answering these questions as though I planned to. 

3 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

Do you do your own editing, or do you hire someone.

 

I would do as much editing as possible on my own to cut down the cost. This would be all levels--substantive, line, proofread. I would then hire someone, or possibly two people, to edit it as well because I know how much an extra pair of eyes (especially when they belong to someone with tons of experience in publishing) can improve the manuscript. 

3 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

How many editing passes do you perform on your manuscript?

As many as it needs or as many as I can give. There isn't a magic number for this. No, the story won't ever be perfect. But I would do enough to make it ready. 

3 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

What do you look for in an editor?

"Do they edit in the genre I've written in?" would be the first question I'd ask. The second would be "What experience do they have?" Beyond that, I would look for people with integrity, people that I can trust and have an honest conversation with. If I have questions about something in their edit, I want to know that they are open to talk about it. Another thing I would look for (but I honestly can't tell you how I'd do this) is whether or not they are just looking to get the job done or if they are willing to spend some extra time on it. 

3 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

How do you find an editor that reflects your writing style?

I'm going to answer this from the perspective of an editor. Start with finding out what books they love and what they love to edit. If that matches your story, you're off to a good start. When it comes to "style," though, a lot of it comes down to how much attention the editor pays to your writing. They will butcher your style if they approach it with the "right/wrong/not-how-I'd-say it" attitude, but a good editor will recognize what your style is and what must be changed. A good editor can even help you dig deeper and uncover your voice or refine your style. In many ways, a good editor will be flexible in some areas while also being rigid in others. 

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7 hours ago, Accord64 said:

That means she found all the hidden errors that got past me.

So true! Every time I find an error in a manuscript I feel better because it's not going to be in the published version!

 

I am a self-published author and also an editor. I developed the skills to edit because I knew my writing needed one and I couldn't afford a 'real' one. My favorite work is helping with big picture flow and tone, so I knew that wouldn't be a problem with my own writing. It's the detail that gets rough for me.

Here's how my process looked last year polishing my book: 

Let the manuscript sit for a few weeks so I couldn't remember what I meant to say but what was actually on the page. I got some beta readers for theology ASAP and went through for grammar and punctuation while I waited. Followed the advice (or not) of my beta readers' pushback, e.g. I switched "grownup" to "adult" for my teen audience, but kept "ruthless" to describe Jesus's manner in Matt 23. 

Listened to an AI reader show up all the places I needed more commas for sentences to make sense. 

Ran it all through Grammarly to catch big things and checked whether their suggestions actually sense (Grammarly can be laughably wrong at times). 

Used Reedsy to format the book and ebook even though they get a shoutout on my frontispiece because it's free and beautiful.

Uploaded to Amazon and then started to work on an audiobook script that needed a bunch of Scripture passages plugged in. This exposed a good dozen--dozen!--wrong numbers in my references to fix. But I hadn't gotten IngramSpark to work and replacing the file on Amazon was super easy.

BTW If it hadn't taken me 4 months to save up to buy a pack of ISBNs, I would have paid a proofreader to catch those wrong numbers (many of us specialize in such detail work) and the other things I probably still haven't noticed yet.

PS to find a freelance editor, there is one large Christian group. It's got a really straightforward name and we're all pretty amazing people (to be a Gold level editor we have to pass rather rigorous tests). They just charge their editors a commission fee, so editors eventually drop out when they have enough clients of their own (like a top notch romance editor I'm friends with).

Edited by Celebrianne
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On 1/10/2022 at 11:06 AM, Jeff Potts said:

If you're a self-publisher, how do you go about finding an editor?  (When I say this, I'm not asking for advice finding an editor.)

 

Do you do your own editing, or do you hire someone.

 

How many editing passes do you perform on your manuscript?

 

What do you look for in an editor?

 

How do you find an editor that reflects your writing style?

 

 

 

Edit yourself as best you can. But if your looking to publish you need a professional to look it over. You don't need all levels of edit but its recommended. Copy and line edit are vital. This is the most costly part of self publishing. 

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17 hours ago, bilbobaggins said:

 

Edit yourself as best you can. But if your looking to publish you need a professional to look it over. You don't need all levels of edit but its recommended. Copy and line edit are vital. This is the most costly part of self publishing. 

I have not edited or proofread before, but I’m thinking of becoming a proofreader.  I recently bought/read through a book about the influence of European settlers on colonial life in North America—more so on the spiritual side.  I emailed the author, thanking him for the inspirational read, but also itemizing 12 grammatical/spelling errors.  For sure, it was also an indirect way of hinting, “Are you interested in me proofreading your other works?”  
 

It’s been a week, and I haven’t heard back.   Judging from the author’s high business/political profile, I won’t hold my breath for an answer.  Perhaps he will forward to the publisher, and the latter might respond (?).

 

With my own business motive in mind, should I have gone direct to the publisher instead?  Me thinks, yes.  That business ought to gave a stake in this.  Being such a popular author, I’m surprised by the lax editing.  Or, is the quantity of mistakes I saw par for the course for a 200–pager?

Edited by Ragamuffin_John
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5 minutes ago, Ragamuffin_John said:

I have not edited or proofread before, but I’m thinking of becoming a proofreader.  I recently bought/read through a book about the influence of European settlers on colonial life in North America—more so on the spiritual side.  I emailed the author, thanking him for the inspirational read, but also itemizing 12 grammatical/spelling errors.  For sure, it was also an indirect way of hinting, “Are you interested in me proofreading your other works?”  
 

It’s been a week, and I haven’t heard back.   Judging from the author’s high business/political profile, I won’t hold my breath for an answer.  Perhaps he will forward to the publisher, and the latter might respond (?).

 

with my own business motive in mind, should I have gone direct to the publisher instead?  Me thinks, yes.

 

I am not help that side of the issue, I am the one always in need of my material being edited. 

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5 hours ago, Ragamuffin_John said:

Being such a popular author, I’m surprised by the lax editing.  Or, is the quantity of mistakes I saw par for the course for a 200–pager?

From what I've heard from insiders, the more famous the author, the more lax the editing--think George Lucas directing the prequels. 

Whether 12 errors is average for a 200 page book would depend on what kind of mistake. If it's the kind an autochecker like Grammarly would have caught: no. But I could see it happening if the author was late for his or her deadline and they rushed the whole rest of the project. For better or worse, publishers are businesses; if they know they'll make oodles of money off of a shoddy product, they aren't too motivated to make it a flawless one.

 

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18 minutes ago, Celebrianne said:

From what I've heard from insiders, the more famous the author, the more lax the editing--think George Lucas directing the prequels. 

Whether 12 errors is average for a 200 page book would depend on what kind of mistake. If it's the kind an autochecker like Grammarly would have caught: no. But I could see it happening if the author was late for his or her deadline and they rushed the whole rest of the project. For better or worse, publishers are businesses; if they know they'll make oodles of money off of a shoddy product, they aren't too motivated to make it a flawless one.

 

Good pointers, Celebrianne.  Thanks.

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On 1/10/2022 at 11:06 AM, Jeff Potts said:

Do you do your own editing, or do you hire someone.

 

I do several editing passes before I hand it off to an editor. I've been blessed by having one in my family, although she's not a genre-specific editor, she does mostly the technical line item and proofreading. She's retired but does me the favor.

For developmental stuff, I have a group of alpha read team and beta readers who are fans of the genres. Otherwise, if I did need to go hire another editor, I'd probably touch base with some that I've met at Realm Makers and either look to hire them if I can afford them, or ask if they know someone who would be a good fit in their estimation.  Never hurts to ask. 

 

On 1/10/2022 at 11:06 AM, Jeff Potts said:

How many editing passes do you perform on your manuscript?

 

Kinda depends for me. I often do the following:

1 - First Draft (with Dean Westley Smith's "combing" method where you go back while in the process of writing to the previous chapter and give it another look-over and fix)

2,3 - Two editing passes (one silently reading, incorporating critique group/alpha reader feedback, the other by reading the story to myself out loud). Often during this phase I incorporate elements I learned from "The Story Grid". Checking tension, pacing, internal/external conflicts. Did I miss satisfying plot point promises. This is not necessarily an editing pass as much as it is analysis and sometimes includes flowcharts and graphs.

4 -Sometimes I'll add a third pass where I use text to speech software and listen for awkward sentences. It may sound strange, but if it sounds goofy there, you may catch something you didn't realize.

5 - Then I send it to my editor for tearing apart. I ask her to be as harsh as possible and fully expect it to be heavily marked up when it comes back. I normally take 90-95% of her suggestions.

6 - I incorporate the edits and give one more pass. Then it goes to the beta readers with a worksheet for them to put comments on it so I can consider things they found wrong. This is a bad time to discover that you've got storytelling issues, hence why I use alpha readers and a peer critique group feedback.

7 - Beta read feedback is incorporated

8 - Back to my editor for a proofread and incorporate the fixes.

9 - A final look through and begin publishing formatting. This often is more than just one pass, but I'm looking at the physical layout of paragraphs and sentences on the page, not the actual words. Chapter headings, any added artwork, frontmatter, backmatter.

10 - A last lookover, usually from my alpha readers on the "going to press" copies, just to make sure I didn't make any formatting mistakes.

 

So yeah, about 10 passes, though some involve analyzing and fixing sections multiple times. Nothing makes me want to cry more than spotting a typo or error in the book once it's published. Lord knows I've seen enough of those and you just torture yourself going back and trying to re-issue corrections (unless it's only an ebook, then it's simple and cost negligible.)

 

Hope that helps. 

 

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Time for me to answer my own questions.

 

 

On 1/10/2022 at 11:06 AM, Jeff Potts said:

If you're a self-publisher, how do you go about finding an editor?  (When I say this, I'm not asking for advice finding an editor.)

 

This was actually the inspiration for the thread.  I'm at a crossroads as far as selecting editors.  I used a recommendation here.  I've thought about using lists like at Reedsy...but them wanting a copy of my driver's license put a damper on that.

 

I think I need to rethink my editorial choices, and see if I can find a personal fit.

 

On 1/10/2022 at 11:06 AM, Jeff Potts said:

Do you do your own editing, or do you hire someone.

I hire someone.

 

On 1/10/2022 at 11:06 AM, Jeff Potts said:

How many editing passes do you perform on your manuscript?

Multiple.  I revise, revise, revise, and revise again.  Then the wife does a readthrough and points out the massive amount of errors in my manuscript.  I fix those, then send it out to have a line edit done.  When it comes back, I apply the edits, revise, revise, and revise again.  Then send it off to get a proofread.  when that comes back, I apply the changes.  I revise, and revise again.  Then have the wife do a last readthrough.

 

And I'll STILL find stuff that's wrong...

 

On 1/10/2022 at 11:06 AM, Jeff Potts said:

What do you look for in an editor?

 

 

Cost.

 

Again...I have a video coming out about that...

 

On 1/10/2022 at 11:06 AM, Jeff Potts said:

How do you find an editor that reflects your writing style?

I don't. I think that might be half of my problem.

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3 minutes ago, Jeff Potts said:

Multiple.  I revise, revise, revise, and revise again.  Then the wife does a readthrough and points out the massive amount of errors in my manuscript.  I fix those, then send it out to have a line edit done.  When it comes back, I apply the edits, revise, revise, and revise again.  Then send it off to get a proofread.  when that comes back, I apply the changes.  I revise, and revise again.  Then have the wife do a last readthrough.

I've been using NaturalReader 16 to read my chapters to me (I go through and strip the Headers / Footers out in Word for those docs). It's been surprisingly effective at helping me hear where I need to tighten things up or cut things entirely.

https://www.naturalreaders.com/

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3 hours ago, Johne said:

I've been using NaturalReader 16 to read my chapters to me (I go through and strip the Headers / Footers out in Word for those docs). It's been surprisingly effective at helping me hear where I need to tighten things up or cut things entirely.

 

 

That's one of those "revise, revise, revise" steps.  And yeah, it's pretty effective.

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4 hours ago, Johne said:

I've been using NaturalReader 16 to read my chapters to me (I go through and strip the Headers / Footers out in Word for those docs). It's been surprisingly effective at helping me hear where I need to tighten things up or cut things entirely.

https://www.naturalreaders.com/

 

Thanks for this, Johne.

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