In order to get your writing out in the world though, you need to separate yourself from the art and view it as product. Your book is something for consumers. It’s a thing for customers to buy and read and then put away to pick up another book. In theory, you want them to pick up another book by you. That means you have to have the story right, but it also means you should have the presentation of your product perfected. That means hiring professionals to help you make it that way.
If you publish with a publisher, they will provide the professionals. Traditionally published books look good on the shelf for a reason. They sell well for a reason. Some of that is because the story is right; it fits what the reader wants; it attracts the right audience; but a big part of that is packaging.
If you are self-publishing, you need to find those professionals yourself. Maybe you hire them by bartering services for services. Maybe you end up paying them in installments. But you should do what you have to in order to make certain your product is worthy of being out in the world.
Let’s talk specifically about editors. Editors are not here to rewrite your book. We are your partner. But your book is a product and it needs to shine. There is a use for our expertise. Of course the market of editors is flooded just like the ebook market, which is why you have the right to search out and interview your editor. But you definitely need an editor. Just like you can't get good feedback from your mom, having your sister's cousin's friend proofread for you when she isn't actually an editor by trade, might turn out the same results as proofing it yourself. So don't waste your, or your reader's, time.
Choosing the right editor can come down to a lot of things. But here are three that should help you decide:
1. Does the editor have a professional (and edited!) website?
2. What types of books has the editor worked with before?
3. Will the editor work for free on a sample for you so you can get a feel for their style?
There are tons of sources out there for finding editors. Perhaps you’re already part of a network of writers and you can post on a forum or Facebook to find out if anyone has recommendations (I always find networking and word-of-mouth to be my best business).
You can also use sites like writer.ly—a marketplace for hiring professionals to work on your book. They make bids, you pick the one you like best, and then you both get down to business on finalizing your work.
And then there’s just good old Google. Search for editors in your area (maybe you can meet in person), but don’t rule out those of us who live the nomad, telecommuting life. You can specify the search by looking for editors who work in your genre or maybe who have edited a book you loved reading. Which brings up another great source—the books you’ve read. A lot of authors thank their editor in the acknowledgements. If you were particularly impressed by the absence of typos, look in the acknowledgements or consider emailing the author directly to get a recommendation.
Once you’ve found that person that clicks, the one who seems to fit your vision like a puzzle piece, make sure you sign contracts and have something in writing stating what you both expect. It helps even if you have already become best friends. You don’t want to be in a pickle if things get messy.
The editing process itself will be at times difficult and at other times more enjoyable than the writing. Either way, I believe it is an essential thing to get the perspective of someone who understands story and consider their feedback. Even with an editor you don’t have to implement every piece of advice. We aren’t gods. But most of us know what we’re talking about, and if we work well with you then we can help you mold the masterpiece you set out to create.
Have you had experience with an editor? Share away so others can learn what it’s like, even if it was not so glittery.
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WHY YOUR SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK NEEDS AN #EDITOR, by @AmieMcCracken http://goo.gl/HDMxTD #SelfPub #SelpPublishing #IndieAuthor #Authors