Updated: Sep 1, 2022
Professional book editor in the UK explains the 6 important factors to consider before getting your novel professionally edited!
Since launching Stand Corrected Editing, I have worked with an abundance of talented writers who have been a pleasure to meet.
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However, there have also been a select few clients who have been a nightmare, refusing to understand that I work alone and have numerous tasks to complete.
These people (mentioning no names, of course) have ignored the reasonable fact that I cannot always prioritise when other manuscripts need attention too; that it simply isn't possible to edit so much in such a short space of time (i.e., 100,000 words in 2 weeks!), and that completing a thorough edit is time-consuming and requires 100% concentration.
Others have accused me of 'money-grabbing' when I have recommended developmental editing or line editing (the more expensive services) even though their manuscripts needed those services, and a couple of people have expected me to do extra work for a low price, only to get aggressive when I stated that additional services will cost more. The latter incidences prompted me to draft up a legal contract that states all the details, so I haven't had any issues since.
But on top of these incidents that have given me significant anxiety, I have also been expected to edit manuscripts that are not coherent in any way - yes, my job as a book editor is to polish written content, but if I can't understand anything, it makes my job impossible - and I have been ignored upon returning my edits due to the writer's bitterness against me for 'ripping their work apart'.
For all of these reasons, I'd like to address these issues with a list of 6 important factors to consider before hiring a professional book editor, whether myself or someone else.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to make a purchase through the products and services I recommend. I only recommend things that I truly love and use, so I hope I can recommend something to you that you can love too! :)
1. Patience is a Virtue
If your manuscript is lengthy, (over 80,000 - 100,000 words), please respect that it will likely take longer for a book editor to complete the edits, feedback report, and other agreed services, especially if they have other manuscripts to edit and they're running a business on their own, like me. Please don't expect us to use superhuman powers to get it done in an unrealistic period of time.
2. More Errors, More Time
If your manuscript is a very first draft or is riddled with errors and structural issues, please be aware that it will likely take longer to edit than if it has been self-edited a few times or has been through an editing software like Grammarly or ProWritingAid.
My job as a book editor is to perfect your written content, but if there are more errors to fix, it'll obviously take more time. Editing manuscripts is time-consuming anyway, but even more so if there is more work to complete.
3. Book Editors are Great at Multitasking
Many book editors often work on more than one manuscript at a time, especially if their prices are below the standard industry rate or they're running a business on their own, like me.
So unless you have discussed a specific turnaround time with your book editor, please be patient and don't assume or expect that your work is more important than anyone else's.
I'll always remember the time a previous client got annoyed at me for working on other manuscripts besides his, but book editors like myself need to make money too. If we only relied on one client at a time, we'd be out of a job.
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4. Don't Expect the Impossible
How long did it take you to write your book? Months? Years? How would you feel if someone expected you to write your next book (over 80,000 words) in less than three weeks? You'd likely tell them it's impossible.
Well, it's the same for book editors.
No, we're not going to take months on end to edit your manuscripts, but we also can't be expected to polish really long novels in an unrealistic time frame, so please don't get annoyed with us when we tell you it cannot be done.
If you're a lovely person and would like to have your manuscript professionally edited before you query literary agents or self-publish, get in touch with me here and we can discuss which book editing service may best help you!
5. Your Deadlines Are Not a Book Editor's Responsibility
If you know you are working to a deadline, you need to give the book editor of your choice plenty of time to complete the edits. It's not fair to order them to drop everything just to meet your deadline.
Yes, many book editors are happy to work to deadlines if they are reasonable (e.g., 4 weeks to complete 30,000 words), and some offer priority fees if you need your work back faster. However, not all editors are flexible and have a lot of work to do, so if they can only return your 90,000-word manuscript in 7 weeks, you'll need to respect that.
Please don't blame the editor if you have left things until the last minute. Your deadlines are your responsibility.
6. Rushed Jobs are Poor Jobs
If you truly want your book editor to complete a thorough edit so you can query or publish an amazing novel, you can't afford to rush them just because you're impatient to get the story out there.
For a book editor to do a decent job worth the time and money, you need to let them get on with it and give them a reasonable amount of time.
Yes, your book editor may be fine with you emailing them to ask how they're finding your story, but constantly asking how much they have left to edit and when the edits will be complete will only annoy them.
So, please be patient and respectful!
Besides, why would you want an editor to rush through your work?
Related Post: 6 Types of Editors - Which One Do You Need Right Now?
Thank you to all the lovely clients who have been a pleasure to work with at Stand Corrected Editing, but if you recognise yourself to be someone who disrespects professionals who are there to help you, please rethink your actions before hiring a book editor.
- Chelsea x
Hey! I'm Chelsea and I'm a professional book editor at Stand Corrected Editing, my editorial business in the UK. If you need professional book editing services and are currently looking for a manuscript editor, please get in touch and we can get started today!
With my book editing and proofreading services, I hope to spread my knowledge and expertise on how to make your novel a success, and be a mentor to others who desperately want to pursue a fruitful career as an author!