When To Hire An Editor or When To Throw In The Towel
- You've written a complete first draft.
- You've checked for plot holes, grammar, spelling and usage errors.
- You've double checked all your seeds of truth in your manuscript.
- You've traded manuscripts with your critique partners.
- You've revised based on each critique partners suggestions.
- You've read your manuscript out loud from beginning to end and made more revisions.
- You've entered contests, gone to conferences, and gotten feedback.
- You've revised some more.
- You queried and got form letter rejections.
- You revised again and are quite sick of your manuscript and want to throw it away...
But throwing your baby away isn't an option. You've invested so much time and energy into it. So what's the next step?
Ask yourself, is this manuscript worth investing in? Do you have the funds to invest in it? If the answer is yes, you should start thinking about hiring an editor. If the answer is no, it's time to put this manuscript away and start on something new.
Then you have to ask yourself how much do you have to invest in your manuscript? The amount you pay will depend on your budget and the editor's skill set, experience and name. You can spend a lot or a little. Ask around before you choose an editor. There are lots of options: literary agent interns, published writers (published in magazine), retired editors, people who just love the editing process, published authors, and other writers. Find out who they've edited for and if they were helpful. Did they move the manuscript forward to publication or positive feedback from agents or publishing houses?
Before you commit to paying an editor, ask yourself if you're willing to take advice on your manuscript? If you aren't willing to make changes or listen to advice, you shouldn't spend the money. If you have an open mind and are willing to listen to suggestions, you believe in your story so much that you have a burning need to published it, and you have some money saved to pay an editor then it's time to start looking around for an editor.
Have you hired an editor? How helpful was it?
***permission to be printed in the ISWG Anthology