Finding the Right Editor For Your Book

Editors play a vital role in improving your writing once you have done all that you can and are happy with your manuscript. Having an editor is liking have an unbiased “you” on your team. Editing involves far more than proof reading and correcting grammar and spelling, so it is important to understand what editors do before choosing one. Always be mindful that editing is not a quick and instant process.

What an editor does

Apart from proofreading and copy editing, an editor will also:
Assess story plausibility.
Assess story development, climax and denouement quality.
Fact-check where required.
Ask questions and make suggestions.

Furthermore, an experienced, professional editor may be able to help you publish your work through their contacts in the publishing industry or guide you as to how to self-publish. Let’s talk about how you can find an editor for your book.

Short list Editors

Editors tend to specialize in fiction, non-fiction, medical and academic writing. Look for editors with experience in the genre you have chosen. Furthermore, if you are writing about romance, for example, look for an editor who edits romance stories instead of science fiction. If possible, ask around for recommendations and compile a short list. Call or email the editors with a view to finding out from them what they would need from you to consider helping you. Have an “abstract” of your story at hand to read or email to them. Once you have had a response, choose those who have commented on your abstract, as that will show they have listened to or read the abstract with interest.

References

When you hear back from the potential editors, Comply with their information requests and ask them to provide contactable references for writers they have helped. You also need to ask them for an overview of their experience and how many years they have been an editor. You might also ask them to explain how they see their role and how they prefer to work. If they claim to have worked for or do work for a publisher, ask the publisher to confirm.

Trial Edit

You will probably have to pay for a trail edit, but it is a good way to make your final selection. Send one or two potential candidates the first couple of chapters for them to edit. This will give them a chance to assess your writing, and will give you an opportunity to assess their interest in your work and their professionalism.  Look out for an editor who doesn’t just say all the rights things, but asks questions and makes suggestions as well.

Be Brave

The job of an editor is to correct and critique your work.  A critique involves giving criticism. Criticism can be positive or negative. Hopefully it will always be constructive. So have a thick skin. Criticism is never meant to be, or at least shouldn’t be, personal. That said, you can’t be over sensitive or sentimental if, or when, your work is criticized. Be prepared for an editor to occasionally tread on your toes. Reflecting on their feedback is key to your success. Finally, make sure you get your book a round of proofreading.

Be You

Part of looking for an editor is selling yourself. You need to stand out as a person and as a writer. This means being humble and a little vulnerable. You need to talk a little about yourself as well as your writing. Be prepared to share personal information about yourself, your hopes and aspirations. Above all, if you are writing from personal experience, say so and why. It will give your candidate editor some insight into you, and, hopefully, want to work with and for you.

Do you know what ghostwriters are?

Ghostwriters may sound like something out of a bad fiction novel, however, they are actually rather common and utterly mundane. A ghostwriter is someone who is hired to produce written content, such as a book, script, or article without being listed as the author. This seems unethical and overly complicated, but in actuality, it is more common than you might think. Let’s delve a bit deeper into ghostwriting, how it works, and some of the most common reasons it’s used.

How Does Ghostwriting Work?

In a ghostwriting arrangement, there are usually two parties; the freelance writer/independent writer and the client seeking the writing. In some cases there may be a third party involved such as a publishing agent, but this is not as common.

The client will hire the ghostwriter to produce content on their behalf. They will pay a set fee for the work and take credit for the work once the fee is paid. The ghostwriter, depending on the size of the work ordered will either get paid upfront or at certain milestones for their writing. They understand going in that they will not be listed as the author or get credit for the work they produce other than their agreed-upon payment. This is basically a typical “work for hire” arrangement.

Who Typically Hires A Ghostwriter?

Anyone can hire a ghostwriter to create content on their behalf. Big companies who launch ad campaigns, regular people who need help creating a perfect resume, or even lectures who are great at delivering verbal content but just can get things on paper are all common types of clients. Most websites and blogs you see on the internet are populated with content generated by ghostwriters. A lot of biographies you read are also written by ghostwriters. In fact, there are even full-length novels from notable authors that were actually ghostwritten.

How Common Is Ghostwriting?

Ghostwriting is one of the most common types of writing out there, but also one of the least talked about. Consider it the dirty little secret of publication. There is nothing wrong with ghostwriting and in many cases, it is the only way to obtain professional, targeted content for a brand, business or idea. When a company wants to upgrade its website, a ghostwriter will often be called in to rewrite all of the existing content to help it better reflect the company’s current ideas.

There is a lot of content out there, but not as many people available to actually create professionally high-quality copy that generates conversions. This is where ghostwriters come in handy. They get paid to get a brand or person’s message across in a way that will draw in readers. Be it commercial copy or literature, capturing the attention and the minds of those reading the content is critical.

What if becoming a book editor is the right idea for you?

Do you love reading? Do you always have your nose in a book? Is the library your favorite place on the planet? Do the shelves in your home rival the shelves at your local bookstore? Are you a linguist and have a healthy understanding of all components of the written word? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be thinking about becoming a book editor. 

Books have long been and always will be invaluable assets. They encourage free thinking, answer questions, spark creativity, and open doors to new worlds and endless opportunities. Historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, adventure, romance, mystery, biographies and autobiographies, health and fitness, history, health and fitness; the list of genres goes on and on. Whether you’re just starting out in the working world or you’re looking to make a career change, the idea of becoming a book editor is certainly exciting. But how do you go about making your dream of editing books become a reality? Read on for some handy tips that you can use to guide you to a fulfilling career. 

Book Editor Job Description 

First, let’s take a look at the job description of a book editor. In this position, you will have the all-important job of editing the words, punctuation, formatting, and the overall stories and/or information presented in authors’ manuscripts. You’ll need to have a keen eye for details and have to be proficient in the written language and fact-checking. 

Book editors can be either traditional or freelance. Traditional editors assume formal roles with traditional publishing houses and once they’re established, they can even decide which books they publish. Freelance editors advertise their services online, in printed publications, through networking, and by establishing relationships with publishers, and are offered jobs on an as-needed, often non-contractual basis. An editor can work alongside an author and make suggestions that will improve the overall flow and presentation of the book, or they may serve as the final set of eyes that overlooks a book before it is proofread and sent out to be published. 

As a book editor, your duties and responsibilities can include, but aren’t limited to, the following: 

  • Accept manuscripts from authors looking for an editor
  • Deliver work by a deadline 
  • Improve writing so that it’s more appealing and easier to read by the intended audience
  • Confirm any facts presented in the books
  • Work with authors to develop the story, dialogue, prose, voice, style, and so on

How to Become a Book Editor

In order to become a book editor, while it isn’t always necessary, having a degree in higher education – a Bachelor of Arts or a Master of Science, for example – can certainly be beneficial. Of course, you’ll also need to be highly proficient in the written language and should compile a list of samples to showcase your editing skills, and include those samples, as well as a CV, references, and any other helpful credentials, in a portfolio. 

Once you have a portfolio assembled, the following tips can help you land a gig or a career as a book editor: 

  • Establish an online presence. Develop a website, and create profiles on social media platforms and job boards, such as LinkedIn, Upwork, and Indeed. Include information pertaining to your editing experience in your profiles and accounts. 
  • Network. Join associations that are dedicated to editors, such as The Society for Editing and the Editorial Freelancers Association. Connect with people in these organizations to put your name out there and to collect tips about jobs. 
  • Clearly establish your services and your rates. Make sure you clearly state the services that you intend on offering, and that you establish fair and affordable rates. 

Summing It Up

With the above-mentioned information, you can set yourself up for a fruitful career as a book editor. 

Explaining the Three Act Structure for Writing Fiction

If you’re a fiction writer who finds yourself stuck trying to figure out the plot of your next story or book, a three act structure offers a way to plan your story ahead – with a beginning, middle and end as one of the most popular quotes about writing dictates. The three act structure is seen in thousands of movies, books and short stories (and it doesn’t have to cut out the possibility of a damn good twist). 

Here are the steps to applying three act structure to your fiction for better planning, better plots and better stories. 

Aren’t Acts Just for Movies? 

Acts aren’t just for plays and movies. They can also be useful when they’re applied to fiction. Most fictional stories – no matter what form they take – will have scenes and acts just like plays, these are just expressed in a different form (scene breaks, for example, usually mean separated by a new paragraph). 

Three act structure has been in use since mankind has been re-telling stories from one person to another. Stories have to start somewhere, progress somewhere and end somewhere – and most stories do. This is why  three act structure is ever-popular and even appears in almost every TV episode that you could choose. 

What’s Three Act Structure? 

The work of mystery writer Agatha Christie is a good example of three act structure. There’s a beginning (usually the murder), then the middle (where the detective interrogates and asks) and then the end (where the murderer is entrapped into a confession or simply ousted as the guilty party – and always caught).

The first act sets the scene and introduces most leading characters.

The second act winds up the tension and builds up the plot.

The third act brings together plot points and plot twists to a confrontation (and then finally a conclusion thereafter). 

You’ll see it in a lot of movies, TV shows and other stories, especially when you know to look out for it. It’s used in Star Wars, it’s used in episodes of Bones, it appears in classic cartoons like Courage the Cowardly Dog, you’ll see it in CSI, Sherlock Holmes, Scooby Doo, Rick & Morty. There’s Die Hard, there’s Rambo, there’s Bruce Almighty. 

See why three act structure is so popularly used? It’s used because it works. 

Planning according to three act structure can also eliminate the chances of writer’s block because you already have a good idea of where your story will end up if you’ve planned it well. 

The Three Acts Explained

Planning your story according to three act structure means that you can take a step back after you’ve done your outline and see your story at a glance. Here, you can see what works, what fits, what’s best moved around and what doesn’t work at all. You can even throw a few twists into your outline – it doesn’t help, of course, if your conclusion at the end is obvious to anyone who reads it. 

Three acts doesn’t have to mean linear, either. You can stick to three act structure and still mess around with the time-line of your story as much as you like. (Want to see an example? Twelve Monkeys – the movie, not the series.) 

Here’s a quick look at how to approach each of the three acts.

o Act I: Just Getting Started…

Introduce settings, scenes, characters and important plot points here. The beginning of the story (whether long or short) offers a solid background or starting point. (It doesn’t have to be a linear starting point, but ask yourself where your story really kicks off.)  

o Act II: Building Up the Plot

Act II gives you a better idea of what your characters are doing and how they are all connected. This is the  middle part of the story where the tension or story builds up. Readers’ attention should be captured in the third act, and then held well throughout the third. This is a good place for your story’s side-plots and twists. 

o Act III: Bringing It Together

Act III allows for the build-up to the conclusion. Here is where you’ll place the main confrontation (think of stories like The Stand; it even applies to Spider-Man). What does it all come to? What have the characters been fighting for or working towards? Never end a story on an anti-climax (e.g. “She realized that it was a dream.”) – cliffhangers are OK, even some loose ends are great for tension, but anti-climactic ends never are.