When to hire an editor?

When is a good time to hire an editor?

This question comes up a lot, and the short, quick answer to this is – it varies.

Many think it is crucial to first let your manuscript sit for a long time, then read it, self-edit, and send to betas. This is not a bad choice. It is actually pretty good. However, the world is spinning, and we all lose patience. Many of us don’t want to sit and wait for months before publishing our manuscript we worked so hard on.

Let’s go through the steps one by one.

  1. Let it sit. If you don’t have someone to constantly read your chapters as you write them, like I do, then letting it sit may be crucial. It doesn’t, however, need to be months. You can let it sit for a week or two, then read it yourself, as if you were one of your own fans picking up your new release. This exercise is super useful, as it let’s you get out of your own head, and into the story from a reader’s perspective.
  2. Getting beta readers. Now, a lot of self-meaning writers swear by the idea of getting betas this early in the process. I have a few different personal opinions on betas. Firstly, if your manuscript is poorly written, a beta simply will not be able to give you useful feedback. If you are unsure at all, go straight to hiring an editor first. The role of the beta is NOT to edit your book, their role is just to read it, and give their honest opinion. Secondly, getting to the ‘honest opinion’ part. It is important to remember that betas are just people. Some may love your story, while others can’t finish it. This has nothing to do with your story.
  3. Self-editing. Self-editing is super useful if you know how to do it! You can get simple support tools, such as Grammarly, to help you with this process. Ultimately, it all depends on your level of skill. If you are not comfortable editing, and you can’t seem to wrap your head around grammar and sentence structure, don’t beat yourself up. This is what editors are for!
  4. Hiring an editor. Now comes the time to hire an editor. This can happen either before, or after you get beta readers. It all depends on the quality of your unedited manuscript. Don’t be afraid to send a sample of your book to an editor first, asking them how much work it will need.

I hope this has helped you in the search for an editor. If you have any questions at all, or if you are uncertain of whether you are ready or not, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Happy writing!

© Melina Wedin 2019

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