If you’ve never hired an editor before, how do you know which one is the good one? There are skillions of us out there. We all have sites, policies, articles, prices and lots of text for you to read and compare with other sites. It doesn’t take too long before you find yourself bleary-eyed and baffled. You make the decision to tackle it tomorrow. Or next week. But – your book will be finished soon (if it’s not already) and before you realize it, you’re typing those last two words. The End. And you still don’t have an editor.
I could make it easy on you and just say, “Hire Me!” Situation saved, you have an editor, and I have a new client. It doesn’t actually work that way. I’ll try to help out with a few guidelines.
You should feel completely comfortable with this person. If they make you nervous, move on to the next name. You should feel like your editor has come alongside you to help, and to be your partner. You should not feel belittled by them as if they know so much more than you do. Remember – you wrote the book!
Look at their site. Do you like the looks of it? Some will appeal to you and some won’t. The site should be somewhat of a reflection of the editor’s personality. I choose the old typewriter to put on my homepage because I like vintage things. I like the days before we all had cell phones (yes, I have one) and the Internet (I’m lost without it) and satellite TV (yup, I have it).
Most editor sites have blogs, like this one right here. Do you enjoy reading what they’ve written? Then you’ll probably get along with them.
Oh, I tremble at mentioning this one. Have you found punctuation errors, typos or incorrect grammar on their site? Find one mistake is not a huge deal. Finding more than one is kind of a huge deal. If they are not careful with their own writing, how careful will they be with yours? And believe me, I’m going over this site with a super fine tooth comb, and having it edited!
The last test is to send the prospective editor an email. How long do they take to answer? They should answer promptly within 24 hours. Many will answer right away, and that’s nice. If I’m working on someone’s book, I turn off my email to prevent distraction. When editing, my whole head has to be in the book. I even had a dream about a clients book! I can’t edit with one hand and answer emails with the other hand. So that can cause a short delay in answering your email. But, always give the benefit of the doubt. Things to happen to emails. They leave your computer, and they poof! Try again after a few days. If there is still no answer, I’d move on to the next name.
Next time I’ll talk about why you need this awesome editor.