I’ve been writing for a number of years now, but have never published anything anywhere other than my personal blog…I’m currently working on a project I might like to self-publish. As a self-publisher, should I hire an editor to help with my work? Or can I do it on my own with the help of my test-readers? If the answer to hiring an editor is yes, how do I go about finding a good quality one for a price I can afford? At what point should I give them my draft? Is there any other advice you would have for me? I’m new to the ‘polishing and publishing’ world.
Thanks so much!
Awesome question, Jaela, and such an important one.
My answer is yes, always hire an editor.
Think of it this way. Publishers are businesses. Their goal is to get the best return on investment for their shareholders. They hire editors because great editors statistically increase the profitability of their books. If that wasn’t true, I promise you they would fire every editor today!
By the same token, if you want to see the best return on your book (whether we think of that in terms of money or audience reach), a good editor will make a world of difference.
I wrote about the difference between beta readers (test readers) and a developmental editor on my blog here a while back: https://bradpauquette.com/2021/04/whats-the-difference-between-beta-readers-and-a-developmental-editor-which-one-is-more-important/ I encourage you to check that out. Short answer: editing is a specialized skillset and yields significantly better results.
You’re in luck, because you’re part of a community of writers that can help! The Company is a great resource for finding an editor. You can send us an email at email@example.com and we can get you connected, or you could also post on the Facebook group.
My best advice is to make the manuscript as good as it can be before you give it to your editor. It’s a waste of time and money to have the editor tell you things you already know but just hadn’t taken the time to implement yet. The better the manuscript you deliver to the editor, the bigger of a step forward they’ll be able to help you take.
Finally, there are different kinds of editors. Developmental editors help you improve the content of your story. Copy editors help you professionalize the text for publication. Make sure you’re hiring the right kind of editor for the stage of publication you’re at.
I hope that helps! Good luck on the next steps!