A popular post from October 2008
By Josi S. Kilpack
I received this question from a fellow writer completing her first novel. Even though I gave an answer different from what she actually asked, I decided to use it for my blog post this week because a lot of people get to the end of their initial writing and are eager to have someone do the editing for them now that they are done. While this is completely understandable and a very important psychological fear (willing to get feedback) there is a right time and a wrong time to have someone else edit your book regardless on whether you get a professional editor or just ask a freind. Hopefully this will clarify a little bit:
I've been making pretty good progress. I'm at about 60,000 words, and if I just didn't have to do things like sleep, I could be done on Monday. So as I'm getting nearer to completion, I'm trying to figure out who I can have edit this for me. I wanted a good friend of mine to do it for me, but she's slammed with work right now and can't. She gave me a suggestion, but the other woman is reviewing another book right now and wouldn't be able to get to mine for a while. Do you have any suggestions of who I can ask or where I could look to find someone?
Way to go, that's awesome that you're making such good headway and are ready for another set of eyes to see your baby. Before you look for an editor, however, be sure to go over your complete project yourself, looking for things on your own that need to be clarified, things that are redundant, etc. Getting an editor to read over your book is a BIG deal and they can help you a lot, but if you give them a rough draft their advice won't be as helpful because they won’t be fine tuning, they will be helping with the building process. It’s also very frustrating for an editor to wade through things that should have been caught by you, the author. Especially when you use a friend that is doing you a favor, you don't want to waste their time (which is hours and hours of work if they are good at what they do) by handing them something you know isn't ready or you haven't revised at least once (more than once is even better). Should you send them a rough draft, they may be much more hesitant to offer their help next time. If you use a professional editor, they can do their best work when you have already caught all the little things you can catch, this allows them to do the nitty gritty things you can't see yourself. If you don't look (i.e. revise your completed book) you'll undoubtably end up paying them to point out things you could have seen on your own, often times those are things that will require such substantial changes in the story that their line edit will be irrelevant by the time you make the changes they suggest.
In a nutshell, you need to get it polished and ready to go in your mind before you ask anyone to put their time and experience into it. Good luck and congratulations! Most people never finish their book, you're ahead of the pack!