5 Things I Learned While Searching for an Editor: Guest Post by Eleora Han, PhD

Please join me in welcoming Eleora Han, PhD, whose book Grieving the Loss of a Love is now available. When I invited her to share some of her story, she was kind enough to write about looking for and finding her editor.

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I just published a book about working through grief after loss. Surprisingly, I found that one of the most difficult parts of the process was finding the right editor.

Writing a Book Isn’t Like Other Writing

As a psychologist I’ve written or co-authored many scientific articles in peer-reviewed academic journals. Though I felt confident in my writing abilities, I soon realized that writing a book was different. How best should the material be organized and structured, I wondered. Is this writing too academic, or is it appropriate for general audiences? Is any of this any good?

I decided that I needed a partner of sorts—someone supportive who knew the ropes and the lay of the land—someone to bounce ideas off. I soon learned that in the land of publishing, this partner is sometimes known as an editor.

Searching for My Perfect Editor

Once I had my rough draft in hand, I began my search. I didn’t know much about how to search for an editor, but some sources said to look on Upwork, so I began my search there. I posted a job ad and soon received responses from thirty or so applicants, all with dramatically different qualifications and pricing bids. I reviewed their work samples and asked those who were willing to provide sample edits of the first three pages of my manuscript.

Many of the applicants were nice and provided great feedback, but reviewing their work made me realize several critical things:

  1. Anyone can call themselves an editor.

I received applications from teachers, psychologists, college students, hospitalists, pastors, the unemployed, creative writing instructors with literary magazine publications, and newspaper reporters. The variety surprised me! I wanted to work with an editor with prior experience working at a publishing company, but unfortunately none of them did.

  1. Being an editor means different things to different people.

For most of the people on Upwork, editing seemed to mean sending them my draft and then they would email it back to me with their edits … but I wanted someone who was more of a collaborator of sorts, someone I could exchange ideas with and learn from, someone I could turn to for support and help in understanding how the world of publishing works. Continue reading “5 Things I Learned While Searching for an Editor: Guest Post by Eleora Han, PhD”

Hiring an English Major to Edit Your Book Is Cheating Yourself

I belong to a listserve of freelance editors, and I find the topics of conversation interesting and often thought-provoking. One recent  hiring an english major to edit your booktopic that elicited many comments was about pricing the work we do.

The initial post was by an established and well-respected editor who wrote, “I recently was asked about my rates by someone at a local company who was looking for writing and editing help. She balked at my quote . . . Her response: < … we can find English majors for $10 to $15 [per hour] and many of them are quite good. >”

I get it; no one wants to spend more than necessary for anything—goods or services. I mean, if I can buy a knock-off designer widget that looks just like the brand-name widget, isn’t that a better value than buying the real thing just for the brand name? If I can get my next-door neighbor’s artistic son to design my book cover, isn’t that a better value than hiring an expensive professional cover artist?

And if I can get an English major to edit my book for a few hundred dollars, isn’t that a better value than hiring a professional editor? Continue reading “Hiring an English Major to Edit Your Book Is Cheating Yourself”