Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G = Get Free Evals from Editors You're Considering

People talk about not knowing how to find a good editor, but when pressed for more detail, they usually don’t have any facts to back up this claim. Mostly, I hear, “they’re so expensive!” without the writer having obtained any quotes, or “I don’t know if they’re good or not” without having looked at any of the editor’s work.

One of the best ways to determine if an editor is qualified is to ask for an evaluation of a small portion of your work. I have yet to talk to an editor who won’t do a free sample edit on 2000-3000 words of your manuscript. Not only does this help the writer to decide whether a particular editor knows his stuff, but it also enables the editor to provide a price quote, based on the level of edits needed.


I always recommend getting sample edits from at least three to five editors. Ask others who they’ve used and how satisfied they were with the level of service provided, narrow it down to five people, and ask. Each one should do roughly the same job, depending on what you’re looking for. If you only want a proofreader, one editor can do that, but another may make additional suggestions as to sentence structure if your manuscript needs help. Prices vary, but a variety of evals will help you determine what fits best in your budget and revision needs.

49 comments:

  1. This is a helpful suggestion, Lynda. I'll be needing an editor eventually, and feel a bit intimidated and overwhelmed on where to start. Your post gave me some needed relief--its helps knowing I can for a free sample, of multiple editors if needed. Thanks!

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    1. Always go for the samples. The way I see it, there is no reason for anyone to take my word for it that I know what I'm doing unless they see it for themselves...BEFORE paying hard-earned cash.

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  2. Hi human, Lynda,

    You have pawvided some very sound advice. You are so right that any reputable editor will do a free sample edit. A cautionary tale, my human friend.

    Penny, the pawsitive host of the Alphabark Challenge, 2014!

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    1. Thank you, Penny. I only wish more people listened to sound advice. Especially if it's coming from me. ;)

      Hello to Gary! The two of you have been doing a great job of making the rounds and hitting so many blogs, you're leaving the rest of us in the dust.

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  3. Great tip, Lynda. And finding the right editor for your work is so important that just looking at one seems like a mistake.

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    1. Thank you, Lee. I never worry about the competition, because if I'm not the right editor for someone, my hope is that they'd find an editor who's perfect for their work.

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  4. This is a great tip that I think a lot of people would benefit from.

    Happy A to Z :)

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    1. Thanks, Rhonda, for the visit and the comment. I enjoyed your post for today.

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  5. More good advice! So glad nobody's annoying you over here!

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    1. NOBODY is annoying over here. Nobody. I love all my blog visitors because they all make me smile. :)

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  6. Smart idea to get more than one quote. You want to be sure you get along well with the editor, since you'll be trusting that person with your work.

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    1. The right editor should have the skill, to be sure, but personality is equally important. I love the people I work with, and it makes me happy that they trust me with their manuscripts.

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  7. I didn't know you could have them give you a free sample of their editing work. It makes more sense to go in knowing what kind of editor your are getting.
    http://www.nanaprah.blogspot.com/

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    1. I think a lot of people don't realize this. All legitimate editors will do a sample edit on 1000-3000 words, free of charge. Many people look at prices and go for the cheapest cost, assuming the editor knows what he or she is doing, and sadly that's not always the case. "Try before you buy" is essential here.

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  8. I tell potential clients that if they'll let me scan the ms to get an idea of how much work it needs, then I can give them an estimate. I've never gone over my estimate, but I'm the slut editor.

    Love,
    Janie, who is cheap and fast.

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    1. *putting on my really high heels that my family lovingly calls my hooker shoes*

      Oh yeah? Well, I'm—

      Oh, Janie, I just love you so, so much. I feel like the "other" sister in Ever After who tucks the feather in her bodice when the prince comes to visit.

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    2. I've never seen Ever After. Why does she tuck a feather in her bodice? Does she want to be felt up? If you can walk in high heels, then you're a better man than I, Gunga Din.

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    3. She has a feather in her hair, but when her sister brazenly gets the attention of the prince by wearing a large brooch in her cleavage, she awkwardly (and noticeably) moves the feather to her cleavage. You need to watch the movie. It's a classic.

      I love my high heels. I'm only 5'3" so hooker shoes are the way to go. The trick is to get comfy ones.

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  9. I'm going to start reaching out to a few of your kind to see—oh what am I saying? Sorry. Sorry. I got caught up in the great advice...I do already have you. Ahem.
    You see? If I cheat on you is your own fault for getting me excited about it. If nothing else I can call up Janie, she's cheap and fast lol (I can't stop laughing at her comment)

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    1. No, no, no and NO. Everyone ELSE is supposed to get a handful of evals. You are supposed to ignore all those hacks (other than Fast Janie, who is not a hack at all) and focus on only me. I knew I should have slipped on my hooker shoes sooner. Maybe I'll take a picture of them and make them my profile picture, and that will get me more business.

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  10. thank you - much needed useful advice. So nice to follow and connect with an a to z challenger, and I look forward to more posts. http://aimingforapublishingdeal.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thanks for the visit! The A to Z has been great so far!

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  11. This is a great idea and I wouldn't have even thought to ask.

    Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com & @LeanneRossRF )

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    1. A lot of people are in the same boat, Leanne. They aren't aware this is a standard thing that should be available.

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  12. Sounds like excellent advice to me. I see so many books, especially ebooks, which desperately need editing.

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    1. There are way too many ebooks out there with little to no editing, and there's no excuse for it, in my opinion. People who think they can't afford an editor can still trade services with other authors or use online editing programs free of charge. It's not foolproof, but would certainly yield better results than just throwing it out there.

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  13. Great post with extremely useful information.

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie. I aim to please.

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  14. This is seriously a great and important thing to do. Like you said, it benefits both like you said.

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    1. It really does benefit both sides. Every author should feel comfortable with his/her editor, and vice versa.

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    1. Thanks for visiting! I'm chock-full of these babies for nineteen more days. ;)

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  16. Getting a free sample is a very good idea. However, it only works if a writer knows what they're looking for. Too many have no CPs and no way to judge what professional level feedback is.

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    1. You're absolutely right. That's why I think it's a good idea to get a handful to compare. If everyone's telling you the same thing, it's worth listening to; conversely, if one person's sample edit misses a lot of things the others catch, you can easily eliminate one from the running.

      If a writer truly has no idea what's correct and what's not, I'd hope he has at least one trustworthy CP to look over the samples, much like having a lawyer friend take a peek at a contract for you.

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  17. Great advice, now all I have to do is finish my novella.

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  18. Excellent advice! People usually shop around for other things but they don't consider doing the same to find the right editor "fit."

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    1. Very true, River! Why shouldn't they shop around? Especially where larger amounts of money are concerned, I want to know I'm getting my dollars' worth.

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  19. Brilliant. This is really helpful. I had no idea I could ask for a sample. Thanks.

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    1. Absolutely, Rhonda. If someone says no, don't even bother with them.

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  20. My book was fifty chapters, so I just selected fifty editors and sent each of them another chapter. Or two chapters if they were short. Works like a charm.

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    1. You've got it all figured out, Martyn. No wonder you're always bragging about your publishing budget!

      I may have to do a post called "Martyn's Notes."

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  21. Why not just link to my blog... :) Oh, I'm sorry, I see you did that already... *grin*

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    1. Heh heh . . . I have to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on you (especially since you're six hours ahead of me), but I added your blog to the "look over here!" list about a month ago, mostly because you're such a charmer.

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    2. Hi human, Lynda,

      Just had a look at your "People I Find Most Interesting" Okay, I get it, I aint a people, I'm that lovable dog, Penny.

      Pawsitive wishes,

      Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! :)

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    3. Penny, I've just started catching up with adding my favorite people over there. You are one of THE most interesting non-people I know, and so is Gary—though he definitely falls under the category of "people." I'll get right on it and correct my delay.

      And thank you for the reminder! You have certainly earned a place there.

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    4. That's most kind of you. Of course, I was being real subtle. Arf! You are on our list of favourite humans, my human friend. And yes, why am I up at three thirty in the morning? Which reminds me, time for a doggy nap. Thank you and Gary thanks you.

      Pawsitive wishes,

      Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! :)

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  22. I concur, free sample edits are a must as part of the process of finding an editor. I myself always ask prospective clients to send me a sample so I can do a demo edit for them.

    One thing I would like to add to Lynda's comments: a sample edit also helps you determine whether or not the so called editor actually is one, or is in reality an internet scammer out to get your money.

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    1. You bring up a great point, T. Anyone can call himself an editor. Looking at the sample edit will give the best idea of whether that claim is true or not. Three authors I've worked with have had bad editors who did no favors for their work.

      I gather from your comment that you're also an editor. Do you have a website I can share?

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I love comments, and will always answer them, partly because I like having the last word and partly because I just like getting to know the people who read my blog. (Note: if the post is more than a couple weeks old, your comment will automatically go into the "needs approval" folder, but I will still publish it and reply!)