• Bridges Washington

Now, on to find an editor (part 1)

Updated: Dec 20, 2019

Now that I have shared some of the legal issues I experienced in establishing a business for publishing my book here, we will jump back to December and talk about the actual book.

I wrapped up the first draft in early December and next on the list was to clean this thing up. I engaged a couple of close friends at first to give my creation a read and provide any feedback. That first pass removed about 10% of the content as being extraneous or in some cases redundant. I had been printing a chapter or two at a time for one of those friends as she was more comfortable providing feedback, old school, redlines. The other friend probably would have preferred that method, but distance made that more difficult, so we opted for cloud-based document sharing. Combining the two sharing experiences created a few challenges when trying to incorporate their suggestions, but no more so than if I had given them both paper copies.

After taking their combined suggestions, and a few of my own after not having looked at it for several weeks, this creation went from over 53,000 words down to around 45,000 words. Additionally, there were a couple of sections that were reordered to clean up a little of the timeline. I can't thank either one of them enough for their help in trying to clean up my message and make this title more of a self-help title than a memoir. It does have elements of both, but ultimately, it is more about the elephant in the room that is going to sit on you soon.

The next step was to unleash this monster upon a professional who would clean up the silly grammatical mistakes that would be a distraction to my message. This step provided just as much apprehension as the idea of establishing a business, but this was also something that I knew I needed to do, and it is the right thing to do. Having said that, I trolled the web for editors and found more than you can shake a stick at. The two issues that I repeatedly encountered were the scheduling timelines that many of them were disclosing and just how much of an edit my creation would actually need. Copyediting, line editing, structural editing, or proofreading, what? The editor's that I believed showed the most professionalism in this regard provided their description of what those levels of editing mean to them, as well as, a price range for what those levels of editing would cost.

Many of these editors will provide a sample edit from a page or two all the way up to a few thousand words. Then there was the pricing, that was equally diverse. Some would quote as a range per word others were per page, which they labeled as 250 words per page, and of course, then there was the currency exchange to think about. Dollars, Canadian dollars, British pounds, euros, I am not afraid of a little math, I even make jokes about that very idea in the book, but wow. I can see why this could be a real issue for the creative types who steer clear of the STEM realm.

Ultimately, I decided upon using a marketplace for this activity. I liked the idea of there being a third-party as a mediator for this activity. I felt this removed some of my trust issues in handing this baby over to a complete stranger. The other bonus is that now I didn't have to so much of the heavy lifting. Rather than me pursuing an editor, they could pursue me, after all, I am the customer. I provided a sample of the book, selected four or five people whose profile matched up with the genre I was working in, and provided a reasonable timeline for the edit to be accomplished. Sounds like a win-win scenario to me. The one caveat is that the marketplace does not expressly offer a sample edit to be provided by those who have expressed interest in and a quote for editing your book.

A couple of the editors I selected bowed out because they could not meet my project timeline, one apparently wasn't interested at all (probably needed to fix misleading profile), and another thought my work needed a more in-depth edit than I was requesting. Ultimately, I was left with one editor who was willing to provide the service requested within the timeline I asked for and for a price that was in the range of what I had come to expect. I had all of this information within a week without having to send dozens of emails to potentially dozens of people over what could have been weeks or more. Now that I had a willing editor, I simply asked for a sample edit. He was willing to humor me with a sample, and after I provided it, he immediately bombed me with style questions. Oxford comma, British or American English, citation style, etc. were in the barrage. These questions set my mind at ease, and I gave him the answers quickly so that I could make the call whether to proceed with this editor or submit a new request.

After a few days, I received his sample. His suggestions were thorough, and more importantly, they didn't alter my voice, just cleaned it up a little. In the process of trying to provide him with a sample to edit, we did clear a technical hurdle that is worth noting. I write on a Mac using Pages for several reasons, he uses a PC and Word. Turned out, it is not an issue, you can export from a .pages file to a .doc or .docx, and you can open either and see the edits. More importantly, they behave as edits do in word, so in Pages, you can still accept and reject changes at will.

And the story continues here.

Please let me know if this post gave you something to consider in the comments below. Good or bad let me know what you think, this is about starting a dialogue. If this post made you think about your own relationships or those of someone you know like and share it with them. If you are interested in other topics check out some of my previous posts and subscribe to get email notifications of new posts.

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