Editing Tip #108 – When to Trust an Editor’s Advice

I have run across this a few times now in past three years – a new client will come my way (usually because they’ve learned my new-client prices are crazy low), they will have gone through an editor or two all ready and are looking for someone to tidy up the last vestiges from their final drafting. They ask for the oober-cheap creative content critique, thinking in the back of their mind that they’ll then hire me to do a simple copy edit or proofread after this basic assessment of their manuscript and then they’re ready.

This isn’t necessarily the case. I have spoken (ranted) to you about getting the right kind of editing in the past. That if what you need is a substantive editor, don’t think you’re done simply because a line editor and a copy editor have polished up your prose for you. If there is something fundamentally off about your plot, characters or writing style then you need to consider the situation carefully.

shrugBut what happens if the two previous editors did do a substantive edit for you and you’ve gone through a couple of major draft changes? Wouldn’t you be feeling pretty good about having ‘done everything right’ at this point? How would you feel if you then hired a fresh-faced editor with appealing rates to give it a once over and she comes back to you explaining that you still have (a lot) of work to do?

Do you trust her?

Why should you? She’s new, right? So who’s to say she’s actually good at what she does and knows what she’s talking about? The other two said your work was just fine…

Re-read her bio, read her client testimonials; get references to contact via email or phone, and for heaven’s sake get a second opinion – but make sure it’s from a well-respected industry professional. And remember, you don’t have to submit your entire manuscript and spend crazy-ass money you don’t have. Most professional editors will offer to give you a sample edit of your first chapter or first 1000-2000 words. Other, more highly sought after professionals will charge a nominal fee to critique your first chapter or three.

Take advantage of these resources.

However, make sure that whoever you do get a second opinion from is an editor who specializes in your genre and has credentials/testimonials to back up her claims. Otherwise you’re just shooting yourself in the foot again.

Don’t worry though. This kind of scenario doesn’t happen often when you’re dealing with professionals who specialize in your genre. The editing process is different for everyone, depending on the skill level of your writer’s craft, but it should nevertheless be straightforward and enlightening.

Happy Editing 😀

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