Q & A: Common Editing Questions Answered!

Finding the right type of editing/ the right editor to review your novel can be an intimidating task. If you’re new to the process, you’re probably filled with anticipation and lots of editing questions!

That’s normal. Undoubtedly you’ve Googled. That probably didn’t help clear things up.

As a Developmental Editor with several years of book editing under her belt, I wanted to answer some common editing questions that I get asked.

Hopefully they’ll help clarify the process and lead you down the right path.

Q: What types of editing are there?

A: There are six types: developmental, evaluation, content, line, copy, and proofreading. The first three serve to evaluate and strengthen the elements of storytelling. The last three correct grammar and add polish to a completed draft. Curious about the details? Check out: The 6 Types of Book Editing You Need To Know to learn more.

Q: How do I know what type of editing I need?

A: Identifying where you’re struggling and what your manuscript needs is a good place to start. If you know your manuscript has a plot hole you can’t solve, or you’re unsure if your overall concept is strong enough then a Developmental Edit would benefit your novel. If your novel is already finished and you have a set publishing date in mind, it’s probably time to have a Copy Editor double-check your spelling and grammar. Still unsure? Don’t be afraid to reach out to me and ask for advice! You can reach me through my contact page.

Q: How much do editors cost? How do I hire one?

A: Pricing for editing varies. It’s determined by the length of your work, the type of editing needed, how much time it’ll take to do it, how experienced the editor is (more experience means more expensive to hire), and how quickly you need your project finished. For a general idea of how much editing might cost visit: https://www.the-efa.org/rates/ for a price estimate calculator and average rates for freelance editors. Keep in mind that editing is an investment- you get what you pay for. Do your homework before hiring.

Q: How long should the editing process take?

A: Timelines vary per project. It’s determined by what editing service you need, how long your word count is, and the editor you’ve booked with. For example, as an editor myself, I typically complete a Developmental Edit on a 150k novel within four weeks. If you’re on a tight deadline, make sure to communicate that to your chosen editor and see whether they can accommodate you.

Q: Should you accept all of your editor’s suggestions?

A: Finding an editor who understands your vision for your story is important! You want the person you choose to be supportive of your work and style. If you find yourself debating the feedback you receive, sleep on it. Receiving critiques, even when constructive, on something as personal as a book can sting at first.

After time passes if you are still unsure, apply the “Heard It Twice” rule. If you receive the same feedback two or more times, consider putting your feelings aside and accept that perhaps what your editor, critique partner, and beta readers are all telling you. In the end it’s important to remember that they’re on your side and want to see your work become stronger, not to hurt your feelings.

However, If you’re debating grammar errors, you should let it go. Your Copy Editor definitely knows what they’re talking about (at least more than you do).

Q: Do I really need an editor?

A: Absolutely! No writer is perfect. In an industry where first impressions matter, it’s vital that your work be as best as it can be. Readers won’t tolerate reading a novel with mistakes on every page- and publishers will be even pickier. Spending the time and money it takes to perfect your work will only help its chances of being published and read. Whether that’s self-editing, hiring, or a combination of the two, it’s always a good idea.

Ready to take the next step? Check out my Developmental Editing Services page to learn more about how I can help polish your story!

When you’re starting to think about editing, it can be a little daunting. There are a lot of choices and many types. With some time and effort, however, it will all be worth it. Having your book edited is a must!

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Alina (1)

Alina Wells is an author, blogger, and development editor based in the Midwest. When she's not helping writers, writing her debut novel, or building her fantasy author empire, she's reading under trees, cooking yummy things, spending time with her husband, or catering to her miniature pinscher overlord. She loves reading fantasy, young adult, and romance and has never met a pumpkin-spice product she didn't like.

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