At what point should you think about showing your work to an editor?
Had a great question from a prospective client yesterday:
My response:At what point would it be beneficial for you to see a sample of my writing?
That's a good question. Typically, when I'm interviewing a prospective client, I ask to see EITHER the first chapter OR the section of the book that is most representative of their writing. The reason being that we sometimes rewrite the first chapter a bit, so it tends to be somewhat cleaner than the meatier portions of the book. How's the writing going? Do you feel you have enough pages (5 to 10 should do it) to show me a representative sample?
The interesting thing is that there's no right or wrong order to things when it comes to writing a book. Some people feel like they need more than just editing; in that case, they might hire a book coach to help them through the writing process. Others are very disciplined, follow an outline well, and won't bring in an editor until their manuscript is finished. You'll have to determine the right process for you.
Regardless of where you are in the process when you bring in your editor, there are a few things to keep in mind when interviewing the person who will edit your book project:
- Any editor worth their weight will give you a courtesy sample edit. This happens for 2 reasons: (a) so they can see a sample of your work and (b) so that you can get an idea of how they would approach your text.
- Make sure you feel confident that your questions are being fully answered before you engage an editor.
- Find out ahead of time how the editor works and whether their style jives with yours (another reason for that all important sample edit).
- An editor’s PRIMARY role is to make your words sound like you, just better.
- Keep in mind that your editor is bringing their professional expertise to your text; however, their changes are ultimately only suggestions.
- Avoid using price as your sole determinant when hiring an editor: as with most things, you get what you pay for. A good editor is going to be somewhat pricey, but worth every penny.
I can’t emphasize enough how important a professional editor will be to your finished work, especially for someone who’s not a practiced writer – but remember, even the pros have great editors!
If you’d like more thorough information on this subject, do one of the following to get your free copy of The First-Time Author’s Guide to Hiring the Right Editor for YOU!