Types of Editors
So, your book has been through a few redrafts and you're ready to take the next step.
You need an editor.
But what do different editors do?
I have used various types of editors to ensure I put out the best quality product I can. Having an impartial reader that is prepared to be honest with you is more than important - it is essential. Whatever I think of my work, there will always be someone else who will notice things I haven't - whether they are inconsistencies, plot holes, or other things that don't work; and I am sure the same goes for you.
So here is a quick guide to the editors you should use.
Once you've done a few drafts, it's time to find yourself a developmental editor. Normally, I bring mine in on the fourth or fifth draft.
They look at your story, structure, pace, characterisation and plot. They let you know what works, what doesn’t work, and suggest what to focus more on. A good editor won’t give you the solutions to the problems – you are the writer, you need to figure that out yourself. But they will make sure you know what the problems are with your manuscript, and may come up with suggestions.
An example of this is when I wrote Descendant of Hell - my editor pointed out that I'd already 'covered' exorcism scenes in the first book of the series, and I wasn't doing anything original with it. From this, I ended up changing the exorcism scene so it took place on a helicopter, which made it far more exciting, a gave it that little bit of difference.
As an indie author it is essential you use this kind of feedback. There are too many independently published books out there that haven’t been properly revised and it gives a bad name to the rest of us. A reader shouldn't be able to tell whether your book is traditionally or independently published.
After my sixth/seventh book I did decide to cut this cost – but only because I was getting this kind of feedback for free from my girlfriend, who will read my book at this point and be brutal about what works and what didn’t.
Remember – a writer is only as good as their editor.
My recommendation would be to send your manuscript to The Writer’s Workshop as they have a team of editors who work with different genres, meaning they will be able to assign the right editor to you. I used them for my first few books and their feedback was invaluable. They, like most editors, charge by the word, which is why I normally cap my books at 40,000-50,000 words. With a 40,000 word book you’re looking at around £400.
I never, ever, ever publish without my copy-editor.
Send your manuscript to your copy-editor after your final draft, once story, characters and language are all as you want it. They will go through your sentence structure, grammar, word use and lexis. If you want a book without any mistakes in, then this is an expense you can’t do without.
I use an editor called LeeAnn at FirstEditing.com and she has always done a great job for me. There’s always a discount code you can use on the home page, and you should expect to spend around £450 for 40,000 words.
After you’ve started to establish yourself and have readers, you may want to start a street team.
My street team are around 10-20ish of my readers (though I know some writers have 100s on theirs) that get a copy of my book a few weeks before release for free. If I send the kindle file straight to their kindle this will cost me nothing to do. In return, they read and let me know what they think, and write an Amazon customer review for me in advance of the book being released. This is a great resource for both feedback, and in starting your marketing.
I will talk more on how to create your street team later on in the publishing section.