May. 19th, 2012

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It's been a productive morning!

I set up a twitter account, which I'll primarily be using for quick writing-related status updates, boosting the signal on reviews and posts here, and for retweeting random things I enjoy. Follow me at [twitter.com profile] steiner_jessica if that link works...

Secondly, I cleared out my email and did some administrative things.

And thirdly, I finished my line edits on The Sleeping Death! What a painful process that was. I mostly was trying to focus on tightening things, getting rid of extraneous speaking tags and adverbs, especially, and it was really fiddly. I found that I couldn't really do it for very long before my concentration started to flag, so I tended to do about 2 chapters a night. For a story with almost 60 chapters, that was a slow pace.

So now I'll be sending it out to my beta readers and hopefully get their comments within a week or two. After that, it goes to my editor!

I'm looking forward to a rest from editing for a couple of weeks, to be honest. Time to focus on my [community profile] originalbigbang story, which is the fifth instalment of my Hunter Grim series, as well as getting back to The Dreaming. So it's going to be a bit of a pure writing stint for now.
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This is the third installment of my series about hiring a freelance editor. You can see an index here and zero in on the topic that most interests you, or find all of the topics under the 'editing' tag.

So once I was all organized and ready to go, I began my search. Being a simple-minded sort of person, I went to Google and typed "Freelance Editor" I think. And boy, there sure are a lot of them.

The first thing I discovered is that people hire people to edit a whole lot of things that I never imagined. Like resumes. I certainly know the value of having a good resume, and I had my mother and my wife look mine over for typos and did a lot of research about resume-writing when I was developing my first resume, way back in the mists of time. It never occurred to me to pay someone upwards of $30.00 to edit it. But I can see the value.

But money is for another time.

There seem to be two kinds of places where editors hang up their shingle, and depending on what you're looking for, you may prefer one or the other.

Job Boards and Organizations

There are a myriad of organizations that exist to connect freelance editors to people who want to use their services. There are huge advantages to these websites, such as:

  • Rating systems: Other people who have used the editors through the site can usually leave comments about their experiences, and rate the editors. Very useful in trying to choose a good editor for your work.

  • Searchability: The websites incorporate keyword searches, so you can search for editors who deal with your specific kind of project, instead of having to wade through every one individually.

  • Price Comparison: The nature of the website makes it easy to compare different editors. You can see how much they charged for different projects, to get a sense for how much they would likely charge for your project


The websites I looked at were: Edit Avenue and oDesk. They both have different formats and advantages. Edit Avenue was focused entirely on editors, but the projects were generally less than 20 pages, so I'm not sure if they actually take full-length novels. oDesk had everything from ghost writers to editors and many other kinds of professionals, but was very searchable, making it easy to narrow down the search.

The one downside I found from these websites was that - rightly or wrongly - I got the sense that the people there had less experience. They have a less professional feel than the individual websites. While I'm sure that many of the editors on the sites are highly competent and experienced, anyone can show up and hang out their shingle, though thankfully the sites also include a resume.

Ultimately, I didn't end up contacting anyone on the job boards, though I did note down several I wanted to contact. I'm sure if the steps I took hadn't turned out, I'd have contacted a few people on both Edit Avenue and oDesk.

Individual Websites

My googling also tracked down a couple of people who had created websites of their own. These are individualized websites, so they're all very different. One of them had a form that you could fill in if you were interested in getting a quote. Another had a blog that I snooped in as part of my research, to see if I felt any kind of connection with the person.

The websites had information about pricing, and about their experience. It seemed overall that people who had made their own website were more highly experienced freelancers, with significant credits to their name.

Beyond the more professional feel of having a website, I found that I felt a more individual sense of who these people were. As a result, I felt more comfortable diving in and contacting a few right off the bat, to ask for quotes.

I wound up contacting three people like this. I filled in the form on the one person's blog, and for the other two I simply sent emails outlining generally what I was looking for and asking for a quote.

Two people got back to me within 24 hours. Both of them told me that they didn't have time to take on my project, but offered to refer me to someone else who was equally experienced and might have the time. I took them both up on this offer, which takes me to the third section of this post.

Referrals

When you think about it, the entire publishing industry basically works on referrals. There's definitely something about having someone say "Hey, this person is good" that just gives people more confidence. I found it very gratifying that the people who didn't have time to take on my project immediately turned around and referred me to someone they trusted.

I'm sure that the editor felt the same way, that a friend of theirs was putting me in touch with a writer that they thought would be a good fit.

I was careful to note down who had referred me to whom in my editing spreadsheet, so that when I contacted them, I could refer to the original person. I really wanted to be able to say "So and so suggested that I contact you", to create a connection. And one thing that I really wanted was to find someone that I connected with on a personal level, someone that I can build a relationship with. I wanted to find an editor that I could work with well, rather than having a faceless person reading my work and giving me suggestions.

Next time, I'll discuss the types of edits that one can hire a freelancer to do for you.

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Jessica Steiner

February 2016

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