It was time to look for an editor. Actually, it was a little early for that, but I was so excited to get going that I started shopping for that tough love relationship about 60,000 words into my work (which ended up being about 80,000 in all).
So where should a new blood start? It turns out that there are several options, many of which I became aware of after the fact. For instance, Reedsy is a great bank of book writing partners (editors, designers, etc.) that I will most likely use the next time around.
Anyway, as a newbie, I turned to Thumbtack. This site helped me to find a garage door repair service, after all. Apples to apples, no?
Why would someone go to the Angie’s List of all services, great and small? I’ll tell you why (and a few reasons why not). Here goes:
- Pro: it’s a place to start. You can get quotes for 5 people and then go out to bid again if those five don’t suit your needs.
- Pro: it’s free to talk with people.
- Pro: people clamor for your business, making you feel, as a nubile author, extremely wanted.
- Pro: you may wind up with one (or more) decent editors. In my case, I think I found two who more or less fit the bill. More on that later.
There are more reasons, but this is a good start to the list. Now cons:
- Con: you can’t tell what you are going to get… unless you get a sample edit. Get the sample edit.
- Con: what if you choose the wrong one? What if the ideal fit is in the next grouping? What if???
- Con: people clamor for your business. Beware of ingratiation, flattery, ego, sales pitches, people who pretend to be the right fit just for a $. Look at the rating. See their critiques. Ask for as much info as you need (resume, CV, references, etc.) to make your decision a comfortable one.
- Con: if these editors are so good, why are they looking for random jobs online? Good point, but if your writing is so good, why aren’t you working with a professional house? Hmmmm….
So here’s a little overview of my experience. In my initial bid, I had the following:
- Man who offered to turn my manuscript into a screenplay and spelled my name wrong in his introductory email.
- Man who first replied and seemed really good… just wasn’t quite what I was looking for.
- Woman who, when sent my sample, politely turned me down. I believe she was more into technical writing, but I might not have been her cup of tea. I did appreciate how she said that someone would be honored to work with me, that it was fine work– just not in her wheelhouse, and that she would destroy what I sent her to protect my privacy. Good stuff, in the end.
- Woman who I liked very much, was very complimentary of my work, but didn’t offer much criticism at the beginning. I wanted to work with her (yeah, mainly because she was such an immediate fan), but I decided to wait. She also sounded like she had more experience in finishing the work (copyright, formatting, press release writing), so it made sense to say “thanks, but I have to get back to you.”
- Woman who was harsher and slashed up my first three pages and didn’t give me the warm fuzzy feeling. Perfect.
To be continued…