Monday, March 7, 2016

Choosing an Editor for Your Book

I’m currently searching for an editor for the book I finished in November. I’ve decided to turn to, the current evolution of, which I used to know and love. I set the budget at $400—a little above what I would charge, myself, as an editor for the same job—and I’ve gotten 73 applicants. How to go about narrowing this down?
  1. Most of the time, typos are forgivable. This is not one of those times. If they lowercase “I’m” or refer to the “Huger Games” in your cover letter, this is a reason to archive the proposal. I tried to keep reading until I found at least two typos, but none of the proposals with typos made it into my top 5.
  2. I’m looking for an editor who respects my budget. If someone sends in an $800 proposal, that’s an automatic no. I did carefully consider a proposal set at $450 because the editor went to extra lengths to edit the book synopsis I provided in the posting.
  3. I’m looking for an editor who knows the genre. If Harry Potter is the best YA fantasy example you can come up with, you’re not what I’m looking for. Harry Potter is found in the Middle Grade section of the bookstore, not the YA section. So is Percy Jackson. Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones are fantasy, not YA fantasy. The Hunger Games are science fiction, not fantasy. I’m looking for answers like Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor or the Gemma Doyle books by Libba Bray.
  4. I provided filtering questions in the job posting. Everyone who applies had to answer three questions:

    “Are you comfortable copyediting and editing developmentally at the same time?” I mainly provided this question to make it clear what kind of editor I’m looking for. If someone is only a proofreader, they are less likely to apply for the job.

    “Are you comfortable making a second pass after changes are made?” This is nice to know, but not a deal-breaker. Many said that a second pass would be no problem. Others said they would prefer to charge an additional fee. This didn’t really make a difference in the filtering process.

    “Are you familiar with the YA fantasy genre?” See item 3.
  5. I’m looking for an editor who clicks with my story. I provided a two-paragraph blurb in the job description, and I narrowed down applicants to those who commented on this blurb and sounded excited to read more.
Even with all of these requirements in mind, I have four applicants I can’t choose between. The top applicants have worked at publishing houses and literary agencies, have great educations, and have published books of their own. No matter who I choose, I’m bound to end up with a winner.

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