Finding the Right Manuscript Editor

Readers and reviewers can spot a poorly edited book from a distance. You've put much time and work into writing your book, and a poor review could nullify all that effort. A professional copyeditor will give you open and honest feedback that will, if done correctly, improve the quality of your finished product.

Choosing the right copyeditor for your particular title can be a daunting task. A recent Google search identified over 31 million hits for the term copyeditor. Finding the right one can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

A few tips on choosing the right copyeditor:

  • Does the person have a broad knowledge of the subject matter? What has the person edited that is similar to your work?
  • Is the person familiar with the style manual appropriate for your title? While The Chicago Manual of Style is the standard for many works, some topics, including law, medicine, computers, and social sciences follow specialized style guides.
  • Cost is not directly relative to quality.
  • Ask others with similar titles for recommendations.
  • Don't fall for a slick Web page. Marketing is one thing-editing is another.
  • Get a full editorial evaluation and sample edit before permitting a copyeditor to start editing your book.
  • Make sure the editor looks at your work before giving you a firm quote. Those who quote sight unseen are probably not going to do "whatever it takes" to make your book the best it can be.

One more question you need to ask yourself is whether to hire a company or a freelance service provider. Each one has pros and cons.

Freelance Service Provider vs. Company

Cost: A freelance service provider may be cheaper than hiring a company. Companies tend to have more overhead than the average freelance service provider.
Schedule: A freelance service provider is one person and can do only so much. Companies are more able to arrange resources to meet demanding schedules.
Quality: A freelance service provider does not have quality control checks in place. An experienced, reputable company generally has quality control checks in place.
Control: You control who does the copyedit with a freelance service provider, (after all you choose the editor!). When using a company, you need to trust that they will use the most appropriate copyeditor for your particular title.

In the end, if you value your writing, you will seriously consider hiring a professional copyeditor or company to add that touch of professionalism that no one really notices-unless it isn't there.

Laying the foundation for a quality marketing plan involves offering the best book possible for the reader. For those of you with questions regarding editorial services, feel free to email me at dana@selfpublishing.com.

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