EDITING 101: 38 – Hiring Professionals, Part 2…

Hiring Professionals, Part 2

Further to EDITING 101: 37 – Hiring Professionals, Part 1 last week, today we’re going to finish our discussion on hiring professionals to help you self-publish your book.

  • Book/Copyeditor

Hiring a book editor can be a little trickier than a cover designer, because you can’t see examples of the work ahead of time. Or can you? Almost all freelance book editors offer a free sample edit of your material just so you can see what they will do to your work. If they don’t offer a sample edit for free, walk away. There’s simply no telling what you’re getting into. Even if they offer samples of other peoples’ edits, that’s no indication as to what they’ll do to your material. If possible, send the same sample edit material to your top two or three picks. You will get to see who does what, who catches what, and whom you connect with. A professional website and demeanor are important, as well as a quick response to your initial contact. As always, happy previous customers generally indicate you will be happy with their work, as well. Ask about a contract that protects you from any problems. Not all editors use a formal contract, so don’t be worried if they don’t have one. A simple email or document explaining who will do what, when, and for how much can be sufficient.

  • Trailer Producer/Videographer

In this case, the better prepared you are, the lower your price will be. If you have no idea what you want your trailer to look like, you may end up spending quite a bit of money on revisions, figuring out details. Watch book trailers on YouTube and make lists of things you like and things you don’t like. Since the videographer has not read your book, it’s up to you to convey to them the tone, style, and feeling that you want out of your book trailer. Colors, fonts, music, and graphics are details that you can decide upon ahead of time. A contract is a good idea, especially with a due date specified so you’re not waiting months for the finished process. As with the cover, if you’re going to be extremely fussy, expect to pay more for additional services. Check references, testimonials, and samples of other trailers the videographer has produced, and you might contact previous customers to see how easy or difficult the professional was to work with. In viewing the samples, watch out for poor quality, pacing errors, sound problems, and being too long. As with a cover, don’t settle for something you’re not happy with—this trailer represents you and your book! A cheap trailer is not better than nothing at all.

  • Book Marketer/Publicist

I have to admit that I don’t know a lot about hiring a publicist or marketer for your book. It’s not a profession that many self-published authors take advantage of, but if you have the resources, you might find it helpful in building your name and brand recognition. Other than the standard advice I’ve given in the previous professions (check references, responsiveness, and make sure they’re a genuine professional), you might find these websites helpful:

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Publishers Weekly

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Web Design Relief

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Go Publish Yourself

Next week we’ll discuss ‘Writing Your Synopsis and Back Cover Blurbs’

To see the index and catch up with missed episodes of this series – CLICK HERE

NOTE:

This series is not meant to be (nor will it be) simple static information.

I’ll be here for each post to answer questions, offer suggestions as necessary, and interact with you.

If there’s something you specifically want (or need!) to see addressed in terms of self-editing, please let me know in the comments under this, or any of the articles of the series.

Susan

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30 thoughts on “EDITING 101: 38 – Hiring Professionals, Part 2…

  1. Great post. Perhaps it was instinct, however I just hired a copy editor doing exactly as you recommended. I had six editors respond to my query. Two on their website stated they would do sample edits. When requested all six was will to do a sample edit. I took the same sample from my manuscript and sent them to four I was interested. It made it difficult when all four edits were very similar in corrections they found. Two differentiated themselves in offering comments and suggestions in addition to the normal copy edit. I finally selected the one of the two that had the most experience. One more step I did, I went to Amazon and looked at reviews of books the editors had listed as references.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s great, Chuck!

      You do have to be careful with looking at the reviews, though. Unfortunately, freelance editors are not in control of what the author keeps and what they choose to disregard. I could return an absolutely pristine, completely correct manuscript to you, but I don’t have any say over what you do after that. If you reject all my carefully placed commas or reject the revisions I made to conquer grammar problems, I won’t ever see it again to fix it. So even though you hired an editor, you might still get dinged on “poor editing.” Especially if you continue to tweak and rewrite and revise after editing. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “If they don’t offer a sample edit for free, walk away. There’s simply no telling what you’re getting into. Even if they offer samples of other peoples’ edits, that’s no indication as to what they’ll do to your material.”

    I see a lot of people these days hanging out their shingle as developmental editors, but not so many who specialize in copyediting. (A developmental editor is like a REALLY good alpha reader, one with excellent instincts for how stories work and the ability to tell the writer how to make the big-picture stuff in their story– plot and character and setting — into the best version of itself.) It’s not easy to offer a sample of developmental editing, since a sample won’t deal with the full plot, for example, but the writer still needs to see if the developmental editor is someone they’ll be compatible with. (The last thing you want is to hire a developmental editor and then have that person tell you, ‘Y’know, I don’t like the ending for this story. Or the genre. I think your cozy mystery would be a lot more interesting if you made the protagonist a sexy vampire from the fourteenth century, and then she falls in love with the lawn-ornament thief and helps him cover up what he did.’)

    One more thing to keep in mind: If you’re an author, you need to know enough about this stuff yourself that you can TELL whether a potential editor knows what they’re doing. (You don’t want to hire an editor and then find out that they don’t know the difference between reign and rein, for example, or who deletes all your commas — EVERY LAST ONE.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, you’re right on all counts, Thomas! Authors need to be educated enough about the process and committed enough to their book that they can decide what to keep and what to throw out (in terms of developmental editing) and how to decide if the editor doing your sample knows what they’re doing. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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