Drumroll, please. I signed a contract today! So what if it’s not with the much sought-after literary agent? Plunking down a big chunk of cash in exchange for someone’s opinion is still a huge deal. To ensure that I received the appropriate feedback for my novel, I took the time to do some research. Every editor’s list is different, but they all offer the same two basic types of services:
The Big Picture Critique and the Detailed Analysis:
Manuscript Critique is exactly as it sounds: an evaluation of the elements in your novel: plot, character motivation and development, structure, pacing, dialogue, POV.
Line Editing or Copy Editing. A line-by-line review of grammar, structure, flow, punctuation, and consistency.
Some things to think about when choosing an editor:
Pricing is key—Of the three bids I received, one of them was considerably lower. I chose the one in the middle, not because of the discount but because of the recommendation.
Years of experience—Consider the learning curve. Not surprisingly, my least expensive offer came from a new editor. While I was reassured by her educational background and her flashy website, I wanted actual work experience. I wanted the woman who’s read and critiqued the most books.
Book list or list of clients—Just as though you were researching literary agents, check out your editor’s book list.
Recommendation—Blogs and websites, critique partners, online writing classes, and writing conferences are all great places to find referrals. I found mine on Agent Query.
Professionalism—Let’s face it. With the communication opportunities available today, there’s no reason for an editor not to have a website. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just informative and user friendly. I also expect a prompt and professional response to my inquiry.
Writing Sample—All potential editors should read a sample of your writing to give accurate pricing information and to make certain your work is a good fit for her expertise.