Many people have come to me unsure: "This is my first book, no one but family has ever seen it." "I've never hired an editor before and don't know what I need.""I don't really think I need an editor but my mother in law..." Sigh. "I've been over it a million times so it must be perfect by now. I don't know what she's talking about." It's all okay. Together we can figure it out.
Sometimes people come to me angry. "I spent a lot of money on an editor and they didn't do what I needed." My first question is, "Did you tell them what you wanted?" "Um, no. I wasn't sure." Sorry to say, some of the blame for this can be laid on you, the author. It's important pivotal—to let the editor know what you want done. Any reputable editor will offer a free sample edit. Some do a page, some do a chapter—that doesn't matter. What's important is for you, in the notes and comments made by that editor, to determine whether this person can help your story--will help you learn so in your next book, you'll have a better grasp of the technique . Do you understand what the editor is saying in their notes? Do you feel a rapport with this person? Your relationship with the editor is relatively long-term. Even if you're only doing one project together, your association will last several weeks or months. It might even extend to years (I've worked with a number of amazing authors for over 15 years). You need to understand each other, be able to discuss problems, be flexible, have fun. But—and I cannot stress this enough—if you, the author, don't feel that connection from the outset, and before handing over any money, find another editor. There are hundreds of us out there . Be honest, tell him/her "Look, this isn't working for me." A reputable, experienced editor will understand. Some will even offer names of other editors.
Get several sample edits? Compare them. See how each relates to your individual situation. We choose plumbers, hairdressers , and stores in this way—be equally as selective with your potential editor. You've spent months or maybe years working on your 'baby.' You need someone to help it be the best it can be. Remember, an editor isn't there to rewrite your story—that's the job of a ghostwriter, and is very expensive.
An editor gives you ideas and examples to help not only your story, but you as an author to be the best you can be.
Since the advent of Amazon's KDP program, hundreds of books are being published every month. Sorry to say, many of them are getting published without any editing whatsoever. Authors have told me, "All I need is to get it out there and people will buy it." WRONG! There is enormous competition and, even if you know how to promote, which 99% of authors don't, and the few who manage to find the book will tell the world about all the typos, grammatical mistakes, and plot holes.
I'm going to include a few stats for you here. From Forbes.com: "There are somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published every year in the US alone. Many of those – perhaps as many as half or even more – are self-published. On average, they sell less than 250 copies each."
I was unable to learn exact numbers but a study in 2016 by Huffington Post said the second reason given for a book not selling is--poor quality writing.
Self-edit Your Way Into Print Cindy shares her years of editing experience.
Her guidelines give you the power to edit and polish your own writing.
Cindy will teach you many editing strategies.
Learn how to decipher overwriting, how to make dialect more readable. Learn to remove the overuse of adverbs and pronouns.
Learn how to make your opening sentence stand out.
Cindy Davis is the author of 22 mysteries and romantic suspense novels, and several non-fiction books. She’s a 20-year veteran free-lance editor, editing over 700 books and a recent transplant to the land of sunshine where she can be outdoors twelve months of the year rather than the four or five in New England. Cindy and her new husband Rick do a lot of hiking and swimming. They like to travel—next on the bucket list is Italy. The last trip to Rome produced a novel Lethal Dose of Revenge (being marketed now) which made it TAX DEDUCTIBLE! Personally, she’s addicted to coffee—particularly chocolate raspberry flavor. And don’t anyone dare get between her and her life-loves: Ben & Jerry. Other than that, she’s pretty laid back.