Repost from John Greaves III

I had taken a break from editing for a few months as we prepared to move from Oregon, and then for the first few months we were in California.  Then I posted a question on LinkedIn about wanting to get some children’s or young adult books to edit, and John Greaves wrote to inquire about me editing his YA book.  Tonight he sent me a post he’d written on his blog, and he gave me permission to repost it here.

Do You  Need A Professional Editor?

I’ve been working with a professional editor, Denise Fuller for some time now. As a “starving writer” on a limited budget I’m always looking for ways to cut costs.  I’ve done everything from having friends and family proofread my work to joining social networking sites such as Writers Cafe. While there is some value to be found in those methods (i.e. if you can’t even get your friends to read your work for free, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to sell any of it) this approach has it’s drawbacks.

Too often, friends and relatives are afraid of hurting your feelings so you could scribble a bawdy limerick on a discarded napkin and they’ll gush about how “good” it is.

I ran into much the same problem on the social networking sites where people are often offended by honest feedback.  Maybe it’s because those sites tend to attract people with no intention of publishing professionally who just enjoy the communal aspect of sharing their work, like being in a poetry reading group. I still like using Writer’s Cafe as a way to bounce ideas off of other creative people, but I think a professional writer should treat his work like any other business. You do not want to submit your work to a publisher who gets hundreds if not thousands of manuscripts a year, if it’s only been read by your great aunt and a few Facebook friends.

I see too many reviews on Amazon of self published books that  begin with the words  “needs an editor”.

I see hiring a professional editor as an investment in my career to help me ensure that I provide only quality products to my target market.  If you are new to publishing, a professional editor will likely also have tips to help walk you through the process. For example, Denise blogs regularly on publishing related topics, especially the pros and cons of self publishing versus going with traditional houses, whether they be small presses or one of the larger houses.

As for how to find a professional editor you can trust, it’s simple. Network. Network. Network. I partnered with Denise through our mutual membership in a writing group on LinkedIn. She was a professional editor with experience in adult genres (minds out of the gutter that’s not what I meant by “adult!”) who sought advice on how to attract writers of YA manuscripts. I needed someone to edit my YA manuscript so I asked if she was interested.

Granted I was concerned about plagiarism, but we signed a contract, and the fact that she offered to do a sample edit for free played a role in me feeling this was the right fit. Like I said I am a cheapskate.

Bottom line, once I wrapped my head around the notion of paying for the service, I began to see the value in it and I have no regrets about doing it.

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