I hate having to turn down editorial work for projects that really interest me. I’m lucky in that I only tend to work on projects I think will be interesting, but sometimes something comes along that makes me bite my knuckles and wail ‘NooOOooOOOoo!’
The reason I end up turning the project down? A full editorial calendar and because the author wants the edit started ‘immediately’.
Now, people … you’re just NOT going to get ‘immediately’.
It’s not going to happen unless you’ve hit the golden hour when I’ve just finished a project and either my next one has had a schedule slide or I have nothing booked in. And even then you’re more likely to get a copywriting job accepted than a copyediting job because of the timescales involved.
It’s a sad fact of life. As an independent editorial consultant I have to book work in to a schedule that allows me a steady stream of work.
And it’s not just me. Every professional copyeditor you approach will have work booked in, often months in advance, so if you want to work with them you will have to plan ahead.
So what’s the best way to ensure you get to work with the editor of your choice?
Certainly don’t expect to finish your novel or non-fiction tome and hand it straight over to an editor. Here’s what to do to respect your work and bag your editor:
Don’t take shortcuts and think that your editor will do it for you. Sure, we *could* do it for you, but only if you have a bottomless supply of cash. Think about it … if your writing is raw and needs a lot of work you’ll have to hire an editor (or editors) for an extended period of time that’ll work out very expensive. Of course, cost is a personal thing – what one person thinks is expensive, another may find reasonable or cheap – but why distance yourself from your work by getting someone else to do what you can do yourself?
We can’t take on work that isn’t finished.
There’s no point in approaching an editor, hiring them, then sending emails saying ‘I’ve made a small amendment’ or ‘can you just replace this section’ or ‘I’ve reread and I don’t like these sentences, please change’ etc. etc. etc. Finish your work and stop the damn tweaking. Just stop. A writer is never, ever happy as there are always things that could be changed (I’m saying this as a writer, people). So make sure you’ve finished your project and that you’re happy with it. Make the tweaks before you send it to an editor.
Once it’s finished, go though one last time and give it another spell check, get your document ready for your editor and make sure you know what to expect from the edit. Visit my free resources page to download some PDFs that will help you get ready.
This is one of the things I know worries a lot of people. Don’t let it worry you: an editor will never steal your work. But please send your manuscript as a Word document, with no watermark, and not a pile of papers!
Once you’ve decided which editor to approach you’ll need to let them see your document. There are reasons we need to see the whole manuscript:
Once you’ve approached, or decided to approach, an editor who works on your subject matter or genre you have to think about schedules – yours and theirs.
Forget ‘immediately’ and think about what’s best for your book. Are you willing to go with a less qualified editor who has no work booked in but who can start ‘now’, or wait until your editor of choice is free?
Understandably you’re on a high and want your book to hit the market, but soonest isn’t always best.
Here’s what you can be doing while you wait, and let’s admit it, a couple of months will fly by!
Once your book is edited its journey is only just beginning. Why not get active and sort your marketing out while you’re waiting for an editorial slot?
So forget the rush to get things done as soon as possible. Get yourself a strategy, get yourself an editor and talk to them. Work out a plan and stop being so damned hurried. Your project will thank you for it.
If you fancy working with me email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk through your project.