Book Editing Services for Self-Publishing Authors
You’ve taken your book to an agent, who spent some weeks with it before getting back to you with a note: “Hire an editor, then I’ll take another look.” Okay, you think, and fire up your computer, open a Google search page and start searching for book editing services – only to discover you now have more questions than you had before? What kind of editor? How do I know if their experience is good for my book? What exactly did the agent mean by an “editor” – is it a problem of grammar, of readability, of content integrity?
Where do you begin finding the right book editing services?
It is important for authors, especially self-publishing authors, to have a basic understanding of the editing process. A publishing house will usually make these choices for you, but to make your self-published book the best it can be, you should understand the different types of editing, the structure and sequence of the process used by traditional publishing companies, and most especially, how to select the best possible editor for your work.
There are various types of editing, not each of which is needed for every book, and which are best applied in the right order to get the best results.
- First, a manuscript is edited for content and structure.
- Structure editing ensures that ideas are laid out in a logical, coherent way. The editor will look at the presentation in terms of text formatting and space.
- A content editor looks for looks for errors in terms of accuracy and clarity of the material. He or she may also look for plagiarism issues, and will recheck fact versus opinion in the content. Content editors may verify the sources on quotations, and should also look for consistency in pronouns, tenses, and aspects and other conventions, as well as ensuring consistent use, for instance, of American versus British English.
- A development editor can help develop the smoothness and readability of your writing, or, for nonfiction books, ensure that your level of information is appropriate for your intended audience.
These elements will vary, of course, based on what you are writing. A fiction book would not need a content editor, unless it were historical or science fiction, where factual material is still important.
- Technical writing might need a technical editor or fact checker in addition to these.
- A fact-checker may check specific items, like dates in a history book.
- A technical editor may verify code in a computer programming text, or be a subject matter expert for the technology involved.
- Once the content and factual verification is complete, the editing process focuses on style, appearance, and language. A style editor will apply any particular formatting requested by their client.
- Finally, a copy editor will look at grammar and expression, ensuring that the language sounds the way it should.
- Last but not least, a proofreader will check for typos and ensure that the rules of typesetting are followed. Essentially, proofreading ensures that the text looks the way it should.
Once you have determined the amount and type of editing you will need, you will want to find an editor or editors who can match the level of quality and organization that traditional publishing houses require to achieve professionalism in this process. Generally, you should use a process that aligns closely with the traditional model: Start with large edits that result in big changes, such as content and development, and move towards smaller edits such as typos. Organizing the process like this will ensure that the same work does not have to be done twice.
What is the Going Rate for Book Editing Services?
It’s also essential to have an idea ahead of time what sort of rates to expect to pay an editor. Editing rates vary based on the work. Proofreading should cost roughly 30 to 35 dollars per hour. Basic copyediting should cost 30 to 40 dollars per hour. Heavier copyediting could cost up to 50 dollars an hour. Fact checking should cost about 30 to 40 dollars per hour as well. Line editingand proofreading together, could cost as much as 60 dollars an hour. Many editors charge per page, with categories of difficulty accounted for; a fiction page may take only a few minutes to read, but a careful read of technical information could take much longer.
Finally, you need to start your search for an editor with some knowledge about how to choose the right one for your needs. While this may sound intimidating, among the key advantages of self-publishing is the ability to choose your own editor. Expertise in your genre and a specialty in your specific needs are important. Do ask for references and/or credits. Experience and references are important, but equally important is how well you work with the editor – your chemistry. Don’t hesitate to try out some sample edits with several candidates before you decide!