Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to Choose a Freelance Editor



Six days until the release of The Boy Who Loved Fire! All proceeds from the first day will be donated to the Grossman Burn Center. Proceeds from the second day will be donated to Carousel Ranch. More details to follow!

When I decided to self publish my YA novel, The Boy Who Loved Fire, I knew I'd hire a freelance editor. Yes, the book had been through rounds of editing. Yes, it was clean. But I knew it wasn't ready for people to plunk down hard-earned money for it.

Stay tuned until the end to see who I picked! (No scrolling…I can see you!)

How should we choose a freelance editor? Opinions may vary, but here's what I looked for:
  • Happy clients: I wanted to be sure the editor had a trail of happy writers. I put out feelers to other authors who had paid for professional editing. I asked for their honest opinions about the quality of work.
  • Sample edits: Most editors offer a free sample edit, which I took advantage of. I thought of it as an audition. After receiving the samples back, I compared editing style and mood. Style and mood were unidentifiable things to capture, but once I read the samples, I knew for sure who I'd hire.
  • Someone who "got" my story: I wanted an editor who got my genre, got my story, and cared about the outcome as much as I did. My editor was invested in the story.
  • Knowledge: I'm an avid reader, as most of you are, and I can catch some details that need to be tweaked or corrected. But I'm not good enough to catch the all-encompassing story issues or nitty gritty details. That's not where my strengths lie. Or lay. See? That's what I mean.
  • Balanced editing: I didn't want to pay someone to pump up my ego, nor did I want to pay someone to be mean. I looked for an honest editor who'd tell me the truth when my story was funky, and who'd also tell me when I'd done something right.
  • Informative comments: My editor didn't just make a change or tell me what didn't work. She told me why. If a certain word seemed weak or out of place, she offered alternatives. It was my choice to make, but I appreciated the options.
  • Reasonable response times: Some editors took a loooong time to respond to my inquiries, or never responded at all. That's not a good fit for me. I didn't expect a super fast turnaround with the edit, but I appreciated how quickly my editor did the work and how quickly she responded to my questions.
So, who did I choose to edit my novel?

Drumroll please….

Bethany at A Little Red, Inc., who did a wonderful job for a fair price. She was truly my partner through the editing process. And the bonus of all bonuses? She's funny as heck. Their motto is "We're funny. We're tactful. And we're fast." True story.

The editing sisters, Bethany and Erynn, are offering a free 5-page edit to one lucky commenter! I'll choose a winner on January 26th.

Have you ever hired a freelance editor? What did you look for before making the choice? Any tips you can share?

(photo credit)

41 comments:

  1. If they took a long time to respond, imagine how long they would've taken to edit? Glad you found the right person.

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    1. Alex, I thought the same thing. I didn't expect super quick, but I didn't want to be forgotten.

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  2. Thanks for sharing, Julie. I've bookmarked their page!!

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    1. Kittie, I was really happy with their service.

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  3. Great tips/suggestions. Having just gone through that process myself, it is money well spent. A little research and a few questions go along way to finding the best fit.

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    1. Dean, you're so right about research and asking questions. I'm glad you had a good experience with your editor!

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  4. This is a great list, Julie! Thanks for sharing and congrats on your upcoming release!

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  5. Great to know how you picked your editor. I never have done that but would hire one if ever decide to self publish.

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    1. Natalie, that's exactly what prompted me to hire an editor. Hopefully readers will be pleased.

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  6. Natalie, the process worried me a bit. I knew how important editing and cover design are!

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    1. Susan, I agree! I know they made it to you list of resources, which is awesome.

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  8. Glad you found someone who worked well with you! And wow! 6 days! Exciting!

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    1. Laura, I'm excited and nervous. I wonder…do veterans like you still get nervous about a release?

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  9. I've ALWAYS wanted to hire an editor! I'm curious how much I could learn from one and if it would make my work shine that much more. How fun, Julie! Finding the right people in this business is essential. <3

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    1. Morgan, I was so grateful she'd caught the things she caught. And that's after a bazillion edits!

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  10. I've never gotten a book to the point where I need to hire an editor. Maybe soon.

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    1. J.E., at least there are plenty of resources out there when you're ready. Good luck!

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  11. I edit (besides writing) but I still need an editor! What a fun and useful gift it would be to win this.

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    1. Delores, funny about an editor needing an editor, but it's true—there are things we just can't see with our own work!

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  12. Ooh ooh ooh! This post comes at a perfect time for me. I've recently decided I'm going to self-publish and was wondering how to go about hiring an editor. Thanks so much! Christy

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    1. Christy, that's excellent news! Fingers crossed for the giveaway :)

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  13. Congratulations, Julie, I will definitely purchase your book! It sounds like the ladies at A Little Red, Inc. are a perfect fit for you. I checked out their link before I decided to comment and they look awesome. I especially found Bethany's time in Europe interesting. Since my proposed MG series includes several spots in Europe, throw my name into your contest. I think it's wonderful that you're donating the first couple of days' proceeds to charity. Kudos to you!

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    1. Victoria, that would be so cool to have an editor who has also been to Europe! Good luck on the giveaway :)

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  14. Congrats on the release. I can't wait to read it and so cool you've included a donation to charity in your opening days. Thanks for this post. I will check them out.

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  15. How exciting for you. I'm intrigued - I will think about asking them for a sample myself :-).

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  16. How exciting for you. I'm intrigued - I will think about asking them for a sample myself :-).

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  17. Thanks for this - very helpful! And I was very happy with my editor; like yours she gave me reasons why I should consider changing something. And Holy Cow! Six days! Care to do an interview or something at my place?

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    1. Marcy, you're a sweetheart. Yes! Let's do something :)

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  18. Hey! This is great. And how generous of you to donate your sales in this way. You are wonderful.

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  19. I'm not looking for an editor right now, so you don't have to enter me in the contest (cool contest, though!). But I wanted to comment anyway because this post is very informative and helpful. I often see ads that freelance editors post in literary magazines, so this will help me figure out who to work with when the time comes.

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    1. I know what you mean…there are ads and lists everywhere! It's hard to know who to trust and who you'd want to work with. When the time comes, holler if you need names of any freelancers :)

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  20. So awesome! What a great way to share valuable info. I can't wait to see the final product.. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa! It's definitely smoothed out since you first read it :)

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  21. I've heard some horror stories from a few fellow writers. So glad you found an editor you jive with! Bethany sounds awesome!!!

    You're awesome for donating all those profits - can't decide which day to buy on now though!!!!

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  22. I was very pleased to find this site.I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
    remote working

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  23. The always lovely Jemi Fraser won the free edit! Congratulations, Jemi :)

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