How to approach the editing process when you’re a new author

Last month, I experienced one of the greatest moments of joy that a writer can savour: finishing a manuscript. Seeing every chapter full of life, dialogues and monologues was glorious. Celebrating such an accomplishment was certainly meaningful; however, the work doesn’t stop there. The next immediate action is seeking an editor.

I did my own rounds of editing, but I’ve always known that, when it comes to ensuring that your story flows properly, a fresh pair of eyes is a must. This is the first book that I’m self-publishing, and it’s crucial to invest in its quality so that the world can enjoy it.

I’m new to the world of self-publishing, so I’ve been learning a lot about the editing process as I move forward with my project. I want to document all lessons learned here and guide someone who might need a few pointers in their own journey.

Here’s a few notes.

Learn about the different types of editing

I want to be honest here: I didn’t know there were different ways of editing. It’s important to read a lot and find as much information as you can before reaching out to any potential editors.

Examples of what you might be looking for include:

Developmental Editing. The editor will provide guidance on structure and the organization of your story rather than a focus on grammar and punctuation. This type of editing can be great if you’re in the early stages of your career as an independent author; however, if you’re a more experienced author, you might need a line editor.

Line Editing. At this point, you’re confident your story has a strong structure. On the other hand, you want to ensure that your words are precise and that the language is appropriate for the audience you want to reach. Therefore, the editor will check your manuscript line by line to provide suggestions.

Copy editing. Grammar and punctuation are the main focus here. You want to ensure that your book is free of typos and that all commas, semicolons, and periods are properly used.

For more details on types of editing, check out this blog post on How to Know What Kind of Editing You Need.

Reaching out to an editor

When you’re new to this process like me, you want to work with someone you can trust. What if you don’t know anyone who can help you edit? No worries. Find an online directory from a well established association that lists local editors. In my case, it was the Calgary Association of Freelance Editors (CAFE).

When you are ready to contact an editor, make sure to include the following information:

  • Your pen name
  • Title of your manuscript (or working title)
  • Genre/category (example, new adult fiction)
  • Intended audience
  • Word count
  • Type of editing you’re looking for
  • Timeline (or a tentative timeline)

Keep in mind that not all editors offer the same services. Also, some can specialize in science fiction or horror genres while others have more experience in romance or fantasy. Make sure you’re seeking the right person for your project so that process runs smoothly.

I’d like to hear about your experiences with editors. Leave me a comment and let’s chat.

One thought on “How to approach the editing process when you’re a new author

  1. Pingback: An author’s mindset for the editing process – Alice Strathern

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