Kayla Fioravanti and Loral Pepoon recently taught a one hour class in the Selah Press Author-preneur program. Both Kayla and Loral are experienced as authors and editors. You can listen to the entire audio class by purchasing the audio recording of An Overview of the Editing Process for only seven bucks.
Editing is one of the most critical steps in the publishing processes. Publishing a book is a whole lot different than publishing a blog post. The consistency, accuracy, grammar and flow of a book are vital. Every author needs an editor or two. Even if you are the King or Queen of grammar, you still need an editor. As the writer, you are too close to your work to see the errors that will jump right out to your editing team; or worse—your readers!
After months of researching, writing, and birthing the manuscript of your book, you don’t want your readers preoccupied with errors and inconsistencies. Always keep in mind that editing is a entirely separate process than writing. Don’t edit as you go. Write. And then edit.
In the book On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft Stephen King wrote, “…‘The editor is always right.’ The corollary is that no writer will take all of his or her editor’s advice; for all have sinned and fallen short of editorial perfection. Put another way, to write is human, to edit is divine.”
Think of your editor as your coach, you are the performer and any extra sets of eyes are the judges. Those extra eyes are part of your potential audience, but your editor as your coach should be leading the way.
In one scenario you could have copy editor and a content editor. The content editor moves things around, change the flow, catch flaws in my logic and then go to a copy editor to fix the grammar. In some cases one editor can play both roles. Not all editors are gifted in both, Loral is able to wear both hats comfortably which is why I thought she would be the best editor to speak on the subject of editing.
Most readers look through the first few pages of a book before they make a purchase. This is as true online as it is in the store. A visually appealing cover, a catchy title, well planned keywords and categorizing of your book may grab the customers attention, but it is clear, edited writing that will make the consumer buy your book after they have looked inside. Poorly edited text and messy formatting will lead lead the consumer to believe that you’re an amateur writer or that your story isn’t well developed. And ultimately, your book will be placed back on the shelf, or worse yet, receive a terrible review.
Why spend time, money and a few tears going through a rigorous editing process? The honest answer is that nothing will kill your credibility faster than a book that’s filled with mistakes and inconsistencies. No matter how renowned you are as an expert on the subject of your nonfiction book or that you are the greatest fiction writer in town, a published book filled with errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, and usage, will cause readers to doubt your abilities as a writer and expert.
Professional editing digs deeper than simple proofreading, this simply looks for grammatical errors. A full service edit of your work will insure that it is clear, clean, concise and competent. Editing should provide clarity to your work, allowing your reader to not have to guess what you are trying to say.
So what can you expect to pay for a good editor? According to the Editorial Freelance Association you will pay 30 to 65 per hour for editing. Depending on the level of editing an editor will edit at a pace of 500 to 2500 words per hour.
|EDITING||Pages Per Hour||Words per Hour||Rates|
|Editing, basic copyediting||5-10 ms pgs/hr||1250 -2500 words||$30-40/hr|
|Editing, heavy copyediting||2–5 ms pgs/hr||500 – 1250 words||$40–50/hr|
|Editing, website copyediting||1250 -2500 words||$40-50/hr|
|Editing, developmental||1–5 pgs/hr||250 – 1250 words||$45–55/hr|
|Editing, substantive or line||1–6 ms pgs/hr||250 1500 words||$40–60/hr|
|INDEXING||8-20 pr pg/hr||$35-65/hr|
|2000 – 5000 words||$5.50-12.00/pr ind pg|
Most editors will want to do 2 to 4 reads of your book before it publishes. Obviously the earlier edits accumulate the most hours and the latter edits go more quickly.
After spending countless hours, days, weeks, months, and maybe even years writing your book there is not better investment that good editing. A good editor can take a mediocre book from mediocre, to good, to great. Think of editing as an investment in your writing career. You will become a better writer from going through the editing process with a willing spirit. The feedback is priceless. Learn to love the red pen of the editing process.