Friday, May 02, 2014

Going Indie: Do You Need to Hire A Professional Editor?


In the shadow of a calling I found myself . . .

Proud that I have decided and even happier that I am doing.

Musical Moment ~ "Until You Are Free" Utah Phillips


Now that you have written the book, revised it until you are sick of it, see the words of your manuscript float across your closed eyes, and you’ve exhausted all your resources of critique partners, it’s time to get real if you plan on Going Indie.
Every person who decides to indie/self-publish must ask himself or herself this question: Do I need to hire a professional editor? In a word:

Heck yeah, you do! (See what I did there?)

No matter how clean you write or how grammatically correct you think your manuscript is, after a while (i.e. the many, many edits and revisions you have done on your book), you can no longer see the problems. Trust me on this. You know your story inside and out, so when you read or edit it, your mind automatically fills in the next word and without realizing it you have say when you mean saw, you’ve seen the affect of the effect, you’ve gone crazy with the 2’s: to, too, two, and sometime you may even have a tow or two. If you have multiple characters in a screen are they there, they’re, their, or even thier?  See what I mean? It’s easy to no longer see the errors in your novel.

There are many different kinds of editing available:

Proofreading
If you are confident in your sentence structure or the content of your book, but need fresh eyes to go over the text of your novel for grammatical and spelling errors, then hiring an editor for proofreading is for you. The best part of having your book proofread is that you have a neutral party who knows nothing about your manuscript and can easily review your work.
Line Editing
Line editing delves a little deeper than proofreading. In line editing, the editor looks for inconsistencies and holes in your manuscript, as well as tone and style. They also check for punctuation, grammar, spelling, word usage, and consistency. This will be more expensive than proofreading, but trust me, you want eagle eyes to spot the errors you can no longer see. (Trust me, you can’t see it, but your readers will and if you are lucky enough to have reviewers, they will happily let you know about it. You’ve seen those reviews on Amazon.)
Developmental Editing
Depending on where you are with your book, a developmental edit can provide a “ten thousand foot” view of your story. The editor will scrutinize everything in your manuscript from your story structure, dialogue, pacing, plot mechanics, character, and level of suspense.
Basically, hiring an editor is something an indie/self-published person needs to sit down and consider (as well as your budget).

Without further ado, I am going to share with you the edits my own lovely editor, Jordan Rosenfeld provided to me. (In an upcoming article, we’ll chat about how to find a professional editor.) I decided to select Line Editing and this is a small sample of what Jordan returned to me:

   
That’s just the first couple of pages. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be, but it was definitely eye opening to what I could no longer see as “things that could be better”.

The other great thing about the Line Editing is that it also came with a Commentary Letter that really helped me see things more clearly like:


As much as I tried to remove passive voice, there were still areas that needed review. Jordan wrote: “You tend to use the passive voice a lot—this is where there the verb acts on the noun, instead of the other way around.  For instance, “sounds were heard” is passive voice; instead of “Max heard sounds…” You want to try and use active voice whenever possible.

And

“You have some apostrophe errors to watch out for, particularly when a word has an “s” at the end, you often fail to use the apostrophe.” I had no idea, but know I know what to look out for.

There was much more information she provided, but what I learned from her was how to “see” my issues and correct them in a more powerful way. That’s what a professional editor can do for you.

Have you thought about hiring an editor? If not, why? Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas on the editing process.

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