Ebook editors the world over (this one is located in Brisbane, FYI) are passionate about ensuring words are polished and perfected.
And rightly so, there are a lot of ebook editing horror stories out there. Make sure your beloved writing project doesn’t become just another statistic – follow these tips on what NOT to do when it comes to editing your ebook.
Don’t hire an an ebook editor as soon as you finish your manuscript
Your ebook, book or novel is finished and understandably you are excited about this. Celebrate! You deserve to. Finishing the manuscript is a massive achievement. Well done. But before you dash off to find an editor, my advice is to put the manuscript away for at least two weeks. Take time to celebrate and then return to your workstation to do an edit of your ebook yourself. Check for grammar, spelling, punctuation, tone, story flow, character development. Undertake a rewrite if necessary. Only when you are completely happy with your finished manuscript do you then start engaging an editor. You will save yourself money and precious time doing an edit at home first.
Don’t have a friend or relative be your “replacement ebook editor”
This is by far the most compelling “what not to do” piece of advice I can offer. Your friends like you, your family love you. They don’t want to deliver criticism about your much worked on, much cried over, much talked about writing project. They want to embrace your successes and share in your celebrations. Leave that with them and do yourself a favour and hire a professional to critique and edit your manuscript. A professional editor will not be afraid to provide constructive criticism in order to make your work the best it possible can be.
Don’t expect your ebook editor to work quickly
Of course it’s only natural that you will be keen to get your ebook edited, proofread, published and marketed in order to share your story (and let’s face it, make sales). You’ve worked a long time to perfect your project and develop something that you’re truly proud of and represents you. But rushing your editor is not the way to get them to deliver quality work. If you are expecting developmental edits to the character development or the story as a whole then you will need to incorporate these edits slowly and over time. There is no point incorporating structural edits to your manuscript before making developmental edits. Revision takes time – both yours and your ebook editors.
Don’t be afraid to question your ebook editor
When you do find an editor that suits what your project (I suggest finding an editor who is as passionate about your writing project as you are – they will have a far greater investment in ensuring your book is as good as it can be) don’t be afraid to question any suggestions they make. Clear and open lines of communication are required when telling your editor what you want your readers to experience while they’re engrossed in your ebook. Your editor cannot read your mind, so make sure that you are clear from the start and question anything they send back to you. They will have specific reasons for suggesting major developmental or structural edits, so ask them to explain their reasoning if you’re unsure or unhappy.
Something you most certainly SHOULD do when working with a ebook editor
Why are you looking to work with a ebook editor? Developmental edits and suggestions are concerned with improving your ebook’s plot line, story flow, and character development. Structural and line editing deals with the parts of the text that just don’t seem to read correctly or are in the wrong order. Copy editing corrects correcting punctuation, spelling and grammar errors. Whereas proofreading is all about a final read through to ensure it is error free and formatted correctly before publication (so thinking about margin spacing, front cover placement, page numbers, titles, and references).
Whatever your reason for hiring a professional editor, make sure you are clear about what you would like them to do and ask as many questions as possible to ensure there are no miscommunications at the start.
And remember this…
An ebook editor works to make your piece the very best it can be. They are not going to make your ebook the “most amazing piece of literature in the entire world”. Your ebook, whether it is fictitious or factual, is your own and your editor is there to help you along the journey to publication.
For any writers out there – what lessons did you learn during your project and would you do anything differently when it comes to working with an editor?