For any author, completing a manuscript is an exciting milestone. The next steps involve getting the book ready for publishing, choosing a simple printing method such as print-on-demand, and finding a good editor – this is essential for a polished end result. More authors are now self-publishing their work, an option that’s now easier than ever with online printing platforms.
A common mistake is to skip hiring an editor, and especially first-time authors need that second pair of eyes as well as that keen eye for detail that skilled editors have. A large number of freelance editors offer their services online, and the large volume of them can make it challenging to separate the good from the amateur ones. The following guidelines for vetting an editor are intended to help authors of all levels, particularly those who have just written their first books.
Editor Experience Matters
The first thing a good editor has is a professional background in publishing, journalism, communications or a related field. Some editors are also writers themselves, though prospective clients are advised to remember a few of those may be discouraged writers. That negativity may carry over and be a detriment to their editing work. Although some editors get their experience through years on the job, formal education is a definite plus.
Some Instances of a Bad Editor
The publishing world draws a distinction between true editors and those who simply refer to themselves as editors. This latter group frequently has at least a few bad traits, such as a lack of in-depth grammar knowledge, little eye for detail or inability to distinguish between the proofreading and the editing process. Another trademark of a bad editor is more of an interest in showing off his or her own abilities rather than in helping a beginning self-published author create their best work. The best editors have no trace of this ego and work to maintain each writer’s individual voice as much as possible.
In the next post we’ll provide a few more tips regarding good editors and how to recognize them. Stay tuned…