Should You Hire An Editor For Your Book?
So you have finished your book! I say bravo to you and a job well done, mate! Maybe you haven’t finished yet but you are in the middle of the process, and again I say bravo to you.
Once the job has been completed, you then face the decision of what to do with it. Should you just tuck it away in your memoirs? Should you publish it as an ebook? Should you take the traditional route and try to find a publisher to handle it?
How you answer that question will determine how you answer the question at the top of the page. I know, I know, everyone has told you that you need an editor, and I understand why they have said that, but truthfully, hiring an editor is not always necessary.
Let’s’ look at three different scenarios and then we’ll discuss the cost of editing and the benefits derived from it.
Not Going to Publish?
Well, if you aren’t going to publish then why in the world would you pay someone big bucks to edit your work? I mean seriously, unless you are made of money and rolling in green, why would you do this? You finished your book for your own satisfaction, and maybe you plan on having a few copies printed for your family. Just proofread it yourself and save some money. Money is tight and editors are expensive.
Publish an Ebook
Okay, now we are venturing into the gray area. I cannot crawl inside your mind, so I don’t know what your hopes and dreams are. If you want the best shot at being read as a professional writer then yes, hire an editor. If money is an issue, then edit the book yourself or have a friend or family member edit it.
Remember always the old saying about a doctor who treats himself has a fool as a patient. The same can be said for editing yourself. I can tell you from personal experience. When I finished my novel “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday To Today,” I proofread it no less than seven times and still missed grammatical errors and misspellings. I had money issues at that time and could not afford an editor, so I had a close friend do the job. She still missed errors.
In short, you get what you pay for.
- Publishing In The Real World. How Hard Is It?
Publishing is a tough business and getting tougher every day. How tough? Read on and find out.
Finding a Publisher for Your Book
The fast answer in this case is yes, you need an editor. End of story!
You will either need to hire your own editor or the publisher, if they accept your manuscript, will provide one, but either way there is no way a book is being published by a major firm without going through the editing process.
Consider the fact that publishers see thousands of query letters each month. There is no way they are going to even consider your book if there are grammatical mistakes. If you decide to go the traditional publishing route, my suggestion is to hire an editor before you approach a publisher.
What Does an Editor Do?
Many people believe an editor simply checks on spelling and grammar and yes, an editor does do that, but an editor also does much more.
Editors will also check for consistency in the story, for repetitions, flow, rhythm and transitional phrases. They will check on tone and tense, and will provide suggestions on certain parts that do not read well. They can be asked to check facts and statistics.
Do you need it all? That is a question that calls for a subjective answer, and only you, the author, can answer it.
What Does an Editor Cost?
This is a tough question and there is no easy answer. All I can do is give you a ballpark figure. There are thousands of editors out there more than willing to edit your book, and prices vary greatly.
The first determining factor is what you want an editor to do. Most editors charge by the hour. Basic editing can cost between $25 to $40 per hour with a pace of five to ten pages per hour. If more is asked for than just basic grammar and spell check, then the price rises to $65 per hour or more.
Some editors charge by the word and some will charge a base fee. I know that when I edit someone’s book I charge between $500 and $1000 depending on the number of words and the work required.
Shop around! You might check out local colleges and find a student who needs cash and can do an adequate job for you for considerably less than you will pay a professional editor. As is always the case, though, you quite often get what you pay for, so beware of incredibly low price quotes. Editing is a time-consuming job and as such it should cost a fair amount. What needs to be determined, then, is how important it is to you the writer.
Those Are the Basics of the Situation
Times are tough for many folks economically. Money is scarce, and most writers I know are struggling financially, so the idea of paying someone to edit your book is daunting at least considering the cost involved.
Still, a good editor is well-worth the cost. A writer becomes too close to their book. After spending six months to a year working on the manuscript, a bond forms between writer and book, and it is very hard to see weaknesses and mistakes. An editor is an impartial judge and jury with regards to your writing. Their only job is to see your book through their eyes, eyes that are not distorted by emotion and partiality.
So it really comes down to how important your book is to you, and what are your plans for that book. Only you, the writer, can answer those questions. Your work is done. You have written your book. What happens at this point is completely up to you, but again I say bravo to you for at least reaching this point of decision, and best wishes from this point forward.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”