Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I bother hiring an editor if I plan to self-publish my novel?
I'd argue that editing is a requirement only for self-publishers. If you're planning to submit your work to trade publishers, it's usually better to save your hard-earned cash. A trustworthy publisher will pay all editing and production costs.

Here are some reasons professional editing is important for self-publishers:

1. You've worked hard on your manuscript. Doesn't it deserve a bit of polish?

2. You have readers to impress. If your novel is riddled with grammatical errors, many readers will put it down immediately. Furthermore, a few of those readers will rate it poorly or leave a negative review, making other readers less likely to give your work a chance. If your novel is well written but contains significant structural issues, your readers may find it disappointing and decide not to recommend it to their friends.

3. You care about the quality of your work. Even the best writer can benefit from a fresh perspective. An editor can pinpoint problems that writers' familiarity with their own work prevents them from seeing.

4. Do it for your industry. The more well-written, well-edited indie novels readers encounter, the less stigmatized self-publishing will become.
Do you have anything to do with the publication process?
No. After I edit your manuscript, you can do anything you like with it: you can self-publish it, submit it to a trade publisher (though if this is your plan, you should read my answer to the first question), give copies of it only to people you love, give copies of it only to people you hate, or print it out and fold it into three hundred paper airplanes.
I found a freelance editor who charges a fraction of your rates. Why should I hire you instead of him?
I, too, have run across those editors. I've also read samples of their clients' novels. Among the errors I've found in the first few pages:
  • missing or poorly chosen punctuation (" 'Oh; my word' Jane said.")
  • tense shifts ("Martin didn't know why he does it, but he couldn't stop.")
  • inconsistent style ("It was 10,000 feet long and twelve thousand feet wide.")
  • improperly punctuated dialogue (" 'It's a pleasure to meet you,' Lucia twirled a lock of hair.")
  • comma splices ("John went to the farmer's market, he bought some eggs.")
  • sentence fragments not used for effect ("On the train platform, where the bustling crowd jostled each other and craned their necks to search for arriving loved ones.")
  • dangling modifiers ("Walking to the store, it started to rain.")
There are a few steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of getting swindled by an incompetent or dishonest editor. One is to make sure your editor's credentials are real. (Does the editor's website lack a detailed biography page? Red flag!) If you can't corroborate your editor's education or work history, ask for evidence. An honest editor won't be offended.

If you're still unsure, ask the editor for a sample edit. Take that sample to the pickiest, most ruthless, and most trustworthy grammar stickler you know. (Does your friend teach high school English and complain about dangling modifiers in the newspaper? He or she is probably a good choice. Does your friend post "you're spelling is atrotious" when you make a typo on Facebook? Not a good choice.) Choose an editor who can pass your personal grammar stickler's test.
I want to hire you, but I can't afford your rates. Will you make an exception for me?
Writing, like most competitive professions, is much more accessible to the wealthy than the poor (or even the solidly middle class). Workshop costs, MFA tuition, conference and convention fees, and the subtler expenses of spending time writing rather than working for pay make success far more unlikely for a writer without a strong support system or independent means.

This issue is particularly close to my heart, and thus I am willing to reduce my rates for promising writers who a) are planning to self-publish, and b) can document financial hardship. Financial hardship is difficult to define, but if your household income is less than 200% of your state's poverty level and you lack other sources of support, you may qualify for reduced rates.

Because I, too, need to eat, I can take only a certain number of reduced-rate clients a year, but if you think you may qualify, please contact me for information on how to apply.
What does LED stand for?
Light-emitting diode.
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