Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

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rawkinreads
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Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby rawkinreads » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:26 pm

Hey guys, I am a writer of quite a few self-published books and I have a question.

Would you hire a professional editor for your self-published book (if so, what are you some low-cost options) or just do it yourself?

I am wondering if you think it is worth it or not?

Matt

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ostarella
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Re: Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby ostarella » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:45 pm

If you're self-publishing, hire a professional editor - same reason publishing companies have their own editors instead of just going with what the author wrote.

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pls
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Re: Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby pls » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:16 am

Self-editing is part of the writing process, whether you do it as you write or after you've finished the piece. Then if you don't feel confident in your editing ability, send it out to be edited.

Too often I've read excerpts here that show no sign of self-editing, and if they're too awful I refuse to read them.
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Brien Sz
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Re: Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby Brien Sz » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:43 am

One of the best ways to self edit is to read your manuscript out loud. In your head, you can mask errors. Out loud, it's not so easy.

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Re: Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby T.A.Rodgers » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:36 pm

This looks like a good topic for my first post in over a year.

I realize the original question is about self-publishing, but I think this can apply to traditional publishing as well. I have seen, which has led me to alter my opinion somewhat, a change in the industry when it comes to editing. Many or should I say a majority of my writing friends over the last several years that have obtain agent representation and then went on to sell their novels had hired an developmental editor for their novel. For all of these friends this was not their first novel. All of them had written several or more and had been writing for a good many years. I think this trend will continue to grow because the industry is getting tougher to break into.

So if you’re new to this writing world or have even finished that first novel, continue to write and edit on your own. If you want to go the traditional route, you have to learn how to edit. You have to learn the different types of editing processes. You have to learn the rules even if you then break them. Take the money that you want to spend on an editor and take a writing class or go to a conference. Conferences are great places to meet other writers. You will meet agents and editors. You will even meet freelance editors that have been in the business for years. After you have been writing for several years and have written several novels and still haven't found an agent, then I say it may be time to hire a developmental editor. You should never need to hire a copy editor if you are going the traditional route because spelling, grammar, and punctuation are musts for writers. If that’s what you want to hire an editor for, then you are not ready for publishing. I mean this only for traditional publishing.

If you learn everything you can about writing, have written several novels, have been querying those novels, and are still getting turned down, then it is most likely a structure/story issue. This is not a copy edit issue. But be aware of editors that say they are developmental editors and only charge a few hundred dollars or even a thousand dollars. These are not the editors you want. This is why it’s important to attend conferences or friend other seasoned authors. They are your contact points on where to find the experienced editors that have real credentials. You want to hire an editor that can show that their clients have published the traditional route with a real publisher.

Long post, but a good start. Again, I was one of those that was against hiring an editor for traditional publishing, but I’ve been seeing a lot of my friends finally break into the industry and most of them hired an editor. Makes you wonder.

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Re: Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby noob » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:52 pm

[quote="T.A.Rodgers"]This looks like a good topic for my first post in over a year.

I realize the original question is about self-publishing, but I think this can apply to traditional publishing as well. I have seen, which has led me to alter my opinion somewhat, a change in the industry when it comes to editing. Many or should I say a majority of my writing friends over the last several years that have obtain agent representation and then went on to sell their novels had hired an developmental editor for their novel. For all of these friends this was not their first novel. All of them had written several or more and had been writing for a good many years. I think this trend will continue to grow because the industry is getting tougher to break into.

So if you’re new to this writing world or have even finished that first novel, continue to write and edit on your own. If you want to go the traditional route, you have to learn how to edit. You have to learn the different types of editing processes. You have to learn the rules even if you then break them. Take the money that you want to spend on an editor and take a writing class or go to a conference. Conferences are great places to meet other writers. You will meet agents and editors. You will even meet freelance editors that have been in the business for years. After you have been writing for several years and have written several novels and still haven't found an agent, then I say it may be time to hire a developmental editor. You should never need to hire a copy editor if you are going the traditional route because spelling, grammar, and punctuation are musts for writers. If that’s what you want to hire an editor for, then you are not ready for publishing. I mean this only for traditional publishing.

If you learn everything you can about writing, have written several novels, have been querying those novels, and are still getting turned down, then it is most likely a structure/story issue. This is not a copy edit issue. But be aware of editors that say they are developmental editors and only charge a few hundred dollars or even a thousand dollars. These are not the editors you want. This is why it’s important to attend conferences or friend other seasoned authors. They are your contact points on where to find the experienced editors that have real credentials. You want to hire an editor that can show that their clients have published the traditional route with a real publisher.

Long post, but a good start. Again, I was one of those that was against hiring an editor for traditional publishing, but I’ve been seeing a lot of my friends finally break into the industry and most of them hired an editor. Makes you wonder.[/quote]
=========

there are FIVE levels of editing

most people only think of the lowest level that is done last
for that i would say do both
do your best shot at editing and then hire an editor to polish it up and catch what you missed

most novelists would do well to have a development editor
but that is a big cost if you are not expecting to make money on your book
many maybe most novels are never finished
of those that are finished many maybe most never get published except on kindle
a very small number of novels make enough money to pay the expenses of creating it

this is a very long tailed phenomenon where a handful of writers make millions of usd
and millions of writers make nothing
with a small number in the middle that cover expenses or perhaps make min wage

non fiction writers have it easy with organising their material and often do not need a development editor

in the middle of the edit list of types
many people can do the editing themselves

whether to hire yet another editor for that part is really up to the writer and their bank account

read about editing here
http://www.writersdigest.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=263862&hilit=levels+of+editing

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Re: Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby wdarcy » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:37 pm

Hi, Terry. It was great to see you again at ThrillerFest and to have dinner with you. Also wonderful to see you posting here again. I look forward to many more of your posts.

That was a great first post. Right now I am where you say you used to be: I am against hiring a developmental editor. Part of the reason is that I strongly believe an author has to be able to do all the levels of self-editing him/herself. But primarily because I don't believe most query rejections or manuscript rejections are the result of story/plot issues. That might be the case if agents could be trusted to read the entire manuscript, but obviously the vast majority do not--they may read the first 10 pages or first 25 pages or first 50 pages, but very rarely do they read enough to detect plot holes or overriding story issues. Of all the agents who have requested my manuscripts, only one read it through to the end, commented upon it, and made suggestions--and that was an agent referral. Her suggestions primarily boiled down to: "Cut out all the sex, because sex has no place in a thriller." (Lisa Gardner would be surprised to hear that.)

So right now I will continue to do my own editing. When I wrote my first novel, it took me four drafts to get the writing to the level of the first draft of my current novel. So I can tell I am improving as a writer. And as you recommend, I continue to attend conferences, study with best-selling authors, read in my genre, and write as much as possible.

The day may come when, like you, I change my mind. We'll see.

Again, great to see you back on the forum, Terry.

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"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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ostarella
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Re: Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby ostarella » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:29 pm

I feel like I should clarify my earlier comments. I agree that all writers should be able to self-edit, from basic to complex. But if one is planning on self-publishing, then I think you need someone to fulfill the role a publisher's editors would do. If you're really good at self-editing, it's not going to cost as much, but I do think it's worthwhile. As for those going for trade publishing, well, having a really good self-edited ms is probably going to help with future interactions with your publishers. The less they have to do the faster they can get it out and the faster both of you can make money! :D

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Re: Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby MayaS » Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:05 am

I agree, if you're self publishing, you should definitely have another set of eyes check your work, even if you're an amazing writer. I'm a non-native speaker and so even though I'm going for traditional publishing, I have a professional American editor who goes through all my work. My Achilles heel is punctuation, I'm horrible at it. Working on it though, so hopefully I'll get better. I realize I have no excuse -- if I want to write in English, grammar, spelling and punctuation are must-haves.

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Dreaming Imrryr
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Re: Self-Edit or Hire Professional editor?

Postby Dreaming Imrryr » Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:53 pm

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Last edited by Dreaming Imrryr on Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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