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cvolante
05-09-2016, 03:39 AM
Hi. I'm new and I'm self-publishing for the first time.
My novel is an adaptation of an award-winning screenplay. The script has been through several drafts and so has the novel. The story is solid.
I decided it was time to have some kind of closure with the project so decided to self-publish a three part YA series.
I have several friends who have self-published, and I've done a combination of my own research and asking them for advice.
Research suggested that word-of-mouth might be the best way to select an editor, so I took recommendations from them. I had three choices. One had a schedule conflict, the other didn't feel like a good fit and the other one was available and seemed like she'd be fine.

Turns out I should've done a lot more research on this editor. She has only done a few novels, none in my genre, and all self-published. Her general style is a very different kind of editing than what I was looking for (more newsletterish, non-fiction, definitely not YA.) Many of her corrections were stylistic choices rather than useful edits, several of her edits included ERRORS (typos and grammatical mistakes.). Some of her edits were okay/useful. But generally I did NOT get what I was looking for.

On the other hand, I've now paid a content editor/reader for a general read through/comments, and this copy editor.

I have spent a good chunk of time going through both editors' edits and suggestions. Now (because of her errors) I have taken more time reading my entire novel out loud and making many more little edits and changes.

Before the two editors, I had 3 beta readers read and comment.

So the question is: in a get-what-you-pay-for world, would I be smart to go out and look for another (better) editor in hopes that there's someone out there that can truly do the job, or do you think an English major with journalistic experience, screenwriting awards, etc. who has had some beta readers and two editors and a read-aloud edit might be safe enough?

My gut tells me it's better to spend money early on than to publish something that could've been better. On the other hand, my brain tells me I've spent quite a bit of money already. I feel like I keep getting burned and I know self-published books aren't hugely profitable anyway.

Advice?

Filigree
05-09-2016, 03:49 AM
You are suffering from a classic case of the Sunk Cost Fallacy. Stop. Analyze your work without the filter of *I've already spent so much!* Is it the best version it can be? Are you willing to let a lesser version go out? If not, get a better editor.

AW Admin
05-09-2016, 03:49 AM
See Publishing Services FAQs:

FAQ: What should I ask a prospective editor? (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?271090-Publishing-Services-What-should-I-ask-a-prospective-copy-editor)

Publishing Services: Service Providers (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?246884-Publishing-Services-Service-Providers) for more suggestions about locating qualified professionals.

leifwright
05-09-2016, 03:52 AM
You are suffering from a classic case of the Sunk Cost Fallacy. Stop. Analyze your work without the filter of *I've already spent so much!* Is it the best version it can be? Are you willing to let a lesser version go out? If not, get a better editor.

This is excellent advice.

blacbird
05-09-2016, 05:00 AM
I can't for sure say this is truth, but I get the sense that you yourself need to get a lot better at editing your own work.

caw

cvolante
05-09-2016, 05:02 AM
You are suffering from a classic case of the Sunk Cost Fallacy. Stop. Analyze your work without the filter of *I've already spent so much!* Is it the best version it can be? Are you willing to let a lesser version go out? If not, get a better editor.

I honestly don't know because I don't know what an editor can do for me.

So far, all I am learning is that that there are a lot of people out there who call themselves editors without a basic understanding of grammar or a basic sense of story. I had the idea I'd be better off with a private editor than one via KDP/Amazon. Maybe that's not true? Are the editors at Kirkus any good? These companies have GOT to be better than the editors I'm finding.

amergina
05-09-2016, 05:20 AM
Really, the FAQs are good.


See Publishing Services FAQs:

FAQ: What should I ask a prospective editor? (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?271090-Publishing-Services-What-should-I-ask-a-prospective-copy-editor)

Publishing Services: Service Providers (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?246884-Publishing-Services-Service-Providers) for more suggestions about locating qualified professionals.

cvolante
05-11-2016, 02:55 PM
Thanks for your responses.
After I pointed out the grammatical errors and typos in the editor's notes, the editor chose to give me a refund.

Parametric
05-11-2016, 03:07 PM
A general comment from a freelance editor. If the edits you're getting are significantly different from what you expected, something has gone wrong somewhere. You need to request a sample edit (of your own work) from editors before you decide whether to work with them. Then thoroughly review the sample to understand exactly what you're getting. Then the editor needs to deliver edits that are reasonably in keeping with the sample. At least one part of this process has obviously failed.

Old Hack
05-11-2016, 03:21 PM
Hi. I'm new and I'm self-publishing for the first time.
My novel is an adaptation of an award-winning screenplay.

Did you write the screenplay? If not, do you have the rights to use it in this way?


So the question is: in a get-what-you-pay-for world, would I be smart to go out and look for another (better) editor in hopes that there's someone out there that can truly do the job, or do you think an English major with journalistic experience, screenwriting awards, etc. who has had some beta readers and two editors and a read-aloud edit might be safe enough?

My gut tells me it's better to spend money early on than to publish something that could've been better. On the other hand, my brain tells me I've spent quite a bit of money already. I feel like I keep getting burned and I know self-published books aren't hugely profitable anyway.

Advice?

Read the FAQs you've already been directed to in this thread.

Don't publish substandard work. It never goes well for people who do so.

To make your book the best it can be you're going to have to spend money on a good editor--someone with a solid history of editing good books which sell well, NOT an English major whose skills are in studying texts in an academic situation, not in editing books in a commercial setting.

If you decide it's not worth paying for good editing because you "know self-published books aren't hugely profitable anyway", then you might want to reconsider your desire to self-publish.


I honestly don't know because I don't know what an editor can do for me.

So far, all I am learning is that that there are a lot of people out there who call themselves editors without a basic understanding of grammar or a basic sense of story. I had the idea I'd be better off with a private editor than one via KDP/Amazon. Maybe that's not true? Are the editors at Kirkus any good? These companies have GOT to be better than the editors I'm finding.

A good editor will transform your book. There are lots of people who call themselves editors, but they are not all equal. I don't know about editors you find via KDP or Kirkus: I'd look for someone who has edited for trade publishers too, and whose work you can see.


A general comment from a freelance editor. If the edits you're getting are significantly different from what you expected, something has gone wrong somewhere. You need to request a sample edit (of your own work) from editors before you decide whether to work with them. Then thoroughly review the sample to understand exactly what you're getting. Then the editor needs to deliver edits that are reasonably in keeping with the sample. At least one part of this process has obviously failed.

Yep.

Filigree
05-11-2016, 04:49 PM
At least you got a refund.

The FAQs referenced are so good I have them copied in my private selfpub manual.

Parametric
05-11-2016, 05:07 PM
One further comment before I get back to work. :) If you're only finding incompetent editors, the method you're using to find editors is flawed. As you want your self-published book to be successful, it follows logically that you need to seek out editors who have worked on other successful self-published books in the same subgenre. Start by finding said books. The editors may be listed in the front matter or mentioned on the author's website or you may just have to google title + "editor". Then contact those people to check availability and get samples.

cvolante
05-11-2016, 11:33 PM
Yes, of course I wrote the screenplay.

cornflake
05-11-2016, 11:40 PM
You only referred to it as "an award-winning screenplay,' which made me wonder the same thing as OH did.

Parametric
05-11-2016, 11:58 PM
Yes, of course I wrote the screenplay.

We get the occasional poster who doesn't realise there's anything wrong with doing an unauthorised novelisation of someone else's work. Hence the question. :)

David Odle
05-13-2016, 05:58 PM
Due diligence is key. Do some research. Most importantly, learn to self-edit. I'd highly recommend that you get your book to a point where you believe it is publish-ready. Then bring in the editor - you'll get the most value from a professional editor by doing so. I'd also recommend that when you've vetted an editor that you start with a short story, or at the very least, a small sample. Most will do this for a couple hundred dollars or less. By using the short story, you can get a full mini-edit which gives the editor a chance to see your prose, your dialogue, structure, and ending - most importantly, it gives you a chance to evaluate their edit. Remember, their job is to make your stuff better - sometimes, that means putting lipstick on a pig. Make sure you give them something to work with.

Best of luck!
D.

Treehouseman
05-23-2016, 01:11 AM
My good editor vetting tips:

1. A degree or diploma in writing and editing

2. A job with a publisher as an editor, or a lot of freelance work with publishing entities.


Writing a novel is not really going to cut it as a resume entry! I've written heaps of novels and award winning short stories, but at the most I could claim would be as a good beta reader. You need to find someone who has been paid by other people to get works to a publishable standard. Most editors are happy to show this :-)

Old Hack
05-23-2016, 10:11 AM
My good editor vetting tips:

1. A degree or diploma in writing and editing

2. A job with a publisher as an editor, or a lot of freelance work with publishing entities.

I don't think the degree or diploma is going to help. A diploma can help with copy editing, but structural editing is a completely different thing. Far better, I think, to work with an editor who has been mentored and trained through the medium to large trade publishing houses.

I've seen the work of quite a few editors who have spent years working in smaller publishers and e-publishers, and while some have been excellent, others have been a bit lacklustre. Read the books they've edited and see what you think.


Writing a novel is not really going to cut it as a resume entry! I've written heaps of novels and award winning short stories, but at the most I could claim would be as a good beta reader. You need to find someone who has been paid by other people to get works to a publishable standard. Most editors are happy to show this :-)

Agreed.