You’ve written your manuscript and re-worked it from end to end more than once. You’ve even had a few brave readers provide preliminary feedback. Now what?
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If you are like me and going the self-publishing route, it may be time to start considering a professional editor. But where can you find one?
My latest work in progress, An Uncertain Confidence, has been sitting in my virtual desk drawer for the past two weeks while I attempted to answer that exact question. I’d had a less than stellar experience with my first book when it came to editing. Being the wide-eyed new author, and not knowing what I didn’t know, I signed one check without doing nearly enough research. That mistake eventually forced me to sign another.
I knew then that I would never use that particular group service again, so when I started preparing the first book in my next series for publication, I asked my personal network for referrals. I thought I was in luck when one of their sources had an opening. Once again, I sent my book baby off with a check.
Weeks passed and then weeks more. When I finally got my project back, the notes weren’t exactly confidence inspiring. In short, the feedback was the manuscript needed a lot of work, more than he was willing to provide at the previously quoted price. Even worse I learned my story was in a sub-genre he didn’t like, even though had said he enjoyed sci-fi.
It was another expensive mistake and one that taught me the value of beta readers (and tools like Grammarly, EditMinion, Hemingway, and Fictionary). It also taught me why it is so important to thoroughly understand the nuances of sub-genres, particularly with regards to speculative fiction.
I re-wrote that book from end to end and from end to end once or three times more. I sent it off to beta readers who helped me find the story’s holes. I found yet another editor who enjoyed my genre and was recommended by other authors. She was an author too, which meant I could read her books to make sure I liked her style first. Even better, her posted services fit my schedule as well as my budget too. I signed a check (I may have crossed my fingers too).
Unfortunately, life can get in the way of all of us, especially when an author who edits on the side, has books of their own to market or other personal matters to worry about too. It also doesn’t help when your new book is in a different genre.
Which brings me back to how do you find a reliable, recommended, and quality editor, when you have a checklist of 1,000,000,000,000,000 other things to do?
I’ve decided, this time, to give Reedsy a try.
Reedsy is a website marketplace for freelance editors, designers, marketing professionals, and publicists (you can also find book bloggers and format your ebook to epub and pdf for free there too). Simply sort by the type of service you are looking for. Then you can refine your search by things like genre, languages, or specific keywords.
My specific search for fiction, copy editing, women’s fiction, English (us) and “self-published” returned thirteen professionals who have all been verified by Reedsy and each profile includes a portfolio of work as well as author recommendation and response ratings.
To say there were more than a few impressive credentials is a mild understatement.
After reading through their profiles and reviews, I then was able to identify five potential editors who looked like a good match for my needs, style, and project. From there, all I had to do was write a little bit about me and my project and upload up to 3,000 words of my manuscript as a sample and wait for the editors to respond back to me with their bids.
Reedsy manages the payments and contracts and, as a result, does take a percentage of the quoted price, so I am bracing myself for sticker shock, but considering the time it has potentially saved me and the quality of talent, it may still be worth it.
There is still a lot I don’t know about publishing, but the one thing I know for sure is sometimes all I can do is wait and see.