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Editing and the Use of Editors

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Editing and the Use of Editors

Postby Rowan » Wed August 2nd, 2017, 3:08 pm

I'm looking for input from any of you writers who may be publishing independently. I'm trying to get an idea of what it costs a writer to use an editor/editing service if he/she takes that route. I have a friend who wants me to edit for her. She's got a new publisher as well as two books which have already been published. I don't know if she will expect me to edit what's already been published or just pick up from book three onward. I'm getting feedback from as many different sources as I can to help me figure out how much to charge. I have worked as an editor before, but for a publisher, not independently, so I have experience. I also have a degree in English. Any help would be appreciated. If you don't want to share the dollar amount(s) you've spent toward editing, here on the thread, I don't mind a private response. Thank you!

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: Editing and the Use of Editors

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Wed August 2nd, 2017, 4:36 pm

The rates I pay for a copy-edit (also known as a line-edit) are $0.03 per word.
I have enough beta readers now (people who like my work enough to read it in an unpolished state) that the last novel was done by 'the cloud'--meaning that successive betas read it and corrected what they found. I did this in sequence, so as not to waste the opportunity of one reader catching what another didn't. It is time consuming.

I did pay for one reader (she needed the money, and she was a friend I would have supported in any case) who was a grammar-nazi, but alas! she got caught up in the story and missed 60% of the remaining mistakes. I haven't told her about that. It was expensive, having to pull the book back and re-set the bookblock.

So in the end, I did the final copy edit myself.

For developmental editing, I pay $40 an hour. My professional editor says she charges me much less because my stuff is more polished than most. And she wants to know what happens next.
I sampled several paid editors before I found her. It was a hair-tearing process. I finally made a list of well-known authors that the reader who would enjoy my writing would also like. I sent out a list of 100 books (some of them were novels my readers would HATE) and asked the editors to check the ones they had enjoyed. And that's how I picked Marta.

It's been a very good fit.
my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
User signature picture

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Re: Editing and the Use of Editors

Postby Rowan » Fri August 4th, 2017, 3:53 pm

Thanks Emily. :) I have found the average rate to be between $.02 and $.04 a word. Seems reasonable and my friend seems okay with that price.

Are your manuscripts edited electronically or do you print out a copy and mail it to the editor? Well I'm sure now you use electronic formats for your betas, but in the beginning, was it a physical copy or a digital one?

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Re: Editing and the Use of Editors

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri August 4th, 2017, 6:17 pm

back when I started with betas. I discovered that people volunteer readily, but when presented with a whacking big stack of notebook-size paper, suddenly it seems like WORK (it is) and they never 'get around to it'. Unless they are fellow writers with whacking stacks of their own, in which case, there is reciprocation. On the non-writer front, I found that I was most likely to get my stuff read if I printed it out as booklets of not more than 40 pages (that's 10 sheets of paper) looking and feeling as much like a regular book as possible.

I didn't start with a paid editor until well into the electronic era. There are still people who work best with hardcopy, but if they are editing professionals, they will have moved beyond that.

My best technique is the kindle. The old keyboard style that will read to you. I email each day's work to my kindle address, it is convert ed to .mobi format, and I listen to it when driving or hiking. If I hear anything that needs fixing, I stop and type in a one-letter note. (I have a code). My 4 trusted betas all have one of my used kindles. (they are really cheap on craigslist.) They can do the same, leaving notes as well. This has worked outstandingly for me. Next to Scrivener, it's the best writing tool I have.
my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
User signature picture


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