Hire a Professional Editor the Smart Way

By: R.G. Johnston

Once you complete your manuscript and you’ve proofed it, it’s time to begin the editing process, the Smart way.

Many beginning self-publishers I talk to, try giving their manuscript to a friend or a teacher to edit; I did. Although my friend was interested and competent, I didn’t feel that beyond correcting grammar, syntax and some of my composition violations that she knew how to edit for narrative, dialogue and the other elements that made up my story.

Certainly get feedback and a sounding-board for your book, but don’t replace it with hiring a professional editor. Editing isn’t only about grammar syntax and spelling–editors do a lot more. And, they’re experience goes beyond the mechanics of writing. Because they edit many manuscripts–it gives them insight into a contemporary audience’s expectations, for your chosen genre.

I don’t believe that editing is a stage in the self-publishing process, where you should try to save money by getting around it with a cheaper alternative. Please remember that your words are what’s  between your reader and your product–your story; improving it could mean a better reader experience. Shop around for the best price on a “professional” editor, but don’t skip this important process.

Look at it this way; you spend years working on your manuscript; if, there was a better way to bring your story to life, why wouldn’t you be willing to spend the money? Once your book is published, it’s a commodity. An editor is a secure investment, because a polished manuscript increases its sales potential. Publishing companies use professional editors,  so why shouldn’t you?

The place to start is Editors’ Association of Canada, soon to be Editors Canada. Their site is full of information, explaining editorial standards and editorial professionalism. It’s the place to go for information about hiring an editor. There’s a rich collection of resource material about editorial standards, editorial skills, and a searchable database of member editors.

You can post an editing job on their job board, too.

That’s where I found my current editor, Marg Gilks from Script-a-Word Services. She’s edited my three novels. I knew that I liked what she did because, when I read her edited manuscript-even though I wrote the story-it was a new reading experience. She moved the characters out-from behind the narrative-enriching their characterization and my story. I won a bronze medal for Vinland the Beginning in the 2008 IPPY Book Awards.

I was surprised when I stumbled upon this site, because I didn’t realize that there were so many different types of skills that an editor may need to use. Take your time and if you don’t find the information that you need, contact the Association.

If you don’t live in Canada, Editors Canada do have editors who work in other languages.

If you decide not to hire from Editors Canada, take advantage of the site’s free resources to start you on your search for an editor.


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