In my latest release, I thanked my editor Anne McPeak in the acknowledgements, saying, "[thanks] for pushing my writing further and helping to make this book all that it could possibly be." This was not an exaggeration. Anne took a book that was pretty good and turned it into the even better book that has spent time in the Top 50 and Top 100 on Amazon. In my opinion, I owe this success in no small part to the way my editor prodded me to push parts of the book a little further and made it just a little tighter, until it became something really great to read.
It is quite unfortunate, for this reason, that I see editors so frequently maligned by indie authors in writing groups on social media. There is a variety of reasons for this, which range anywhere from the expense of hiring an editor to the idea that they "hijack" an autho's creative processes. The first excuse can be true, depending on who you hire (but, you get what you pay for in life), but the second is just silly.
Sure, we've all heard the horror stories of editors hired who either missed a bunch of typos, charged exorbitant prices, or "trashed" the writer's work until it became unrecognizable.
To avoid all of the above, I offer these pieces of advice:
- Always get references from an editor's other clients (if they cannot provide any, walk away).
- Always get a sample edit before hiring an editor to gauge their skill.
- Always request quotes from multiple editors so that you are sure you're not getting hosed or undercharged (which is often a red flag in itself).
- Always pick an editor whose style of editing meshes well with your style of writing (which is the secondary purpose of the sample edit).
Doing these things will ensure you're getting the best editing experience.
If you want proof that a great editor can make all the difference, all you need to do is read the reviews for my newest book. Those are the reviews of a book edited by a great editor.
Don't you want your reviews to look like that? Write well. Get an editor.
See for yourself why everyone is talking about The Taming. Get a sample on Smashwords.