Should I Hire a Freelance Editor For My Novel?

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Freelance novel editors can do amazing things for your novel, but is hiring an editor right for you?

I get emails every week from potential clients asking whether I think they’re a good candidate for my novel editing services. In short, I believe that all writers would benefit from working with a freelance editor, even if just briefly, such as through my mentoring services.

But I also know that hiring a freelance editor is not always in the budget for aspiring writers. So here are the scenarios for the top candidates for editing services:

You’re Planning to Self Publish

If you’re planning to self publish your novel, you absolutely need to hire a freelance novel editor. Without a publishing company, it’s up to you to make sure your novel is at the caliber it needs to be before putting it up for sale.

At least once a month a self-published author contacts me in a panic. Their book is getting terrible reviews and they want to replace the current version with an edited version asap! While I’m more than happy to help these authors, it’s best to avoid this scenario in the first place!

Besides, edited self-published novels actually make more money than those that weren’t professionally edited! Win-win!

Something is Wrong With Your Novel But You Don’t Know What It Is

You’ve looked at your novel – over and over and over – but you can’t figure out what’s wrong with it. You know it’s not right, that something just feels “off,” but you can’t put your finger on what it is.

Rather than beating your head against a wall for weeks, months, or even years trying to understand what you’re doing wrong, a competent freelance editor can help you straighten out the novel’s issues in no time.

When clients come back to me absolutely delighted, saying, “That makes perfect sense! I totally get it now!” I know they’re on the road to success, and it’s a great feeling for both of us!

Agents & Publishers Are Rejecting You

If you’re submitting to agents or publishers, but you just keep getting rejection after rejection, you’re a great candidate for freelance editing services.¬†

Sometimes it’s just something small that’s holding you back – an opening that doesn’t evoke the right feel or something a bit taboo for your genre. A competent freelance editor can identify why agents and publishers aren’t biting and help transform your novel into something agents and publishers are clamoring for.

You Want to Get Better Faster

Working with a freelance editor, especially through mentoring services, is a great way to become a better writer faster. It takes years to learn the craft of writing and even then, it seems like there’s always more to learn! A competent editor has done all that learning already and can explain the concepts, rules, and tools in a way that’s approachable and easy to apply to your own novel.

Ready to hire an editor? Check out my editing services and mentoring. Feel free to email with questions, concerns, or for more information.

Why Logical Novel Editors are Better than Passionate Ones

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I recently had an angry client. He sent me a long, condescending email that insulted my editing skills and called me “cold,” “terse,” and “bitchy.” Not because of my behavior or because of our email correspondences, but because he didn’t like my editing style.

Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a harsh editor. It’s not like I am to editing what Gordon Ramsay is to cooking or what Abby Lee Miller is to dance. I never insult or belittle my clients. I never make them feel inadequate or unintelligent for making mistakes, but nor do I coddle and comfort them within my edits. And the reason is simple: emotions cloud judgement.

The truth is, while I’m editing, I’m all business. My mind is in the game. My brain gears are turning. I am thinking: How can I make this better? More marketable? More tense? More entertaining?

This angry client complained that I was not passionate or positive enough about his work, and so, he concluded, I was a poor match for the novel and should not have taken the job. But this client missed a hugely important point: You don’t want a passionate editor.

Passion makes humans irrational. It makes us believe that our new loves are perfect or that our children are the most talented kids in the state. Passion is what makes authors write books in the first place. It’s what allows them to devote huge chunks of their lives to pursuing their dream of publication, a dream that is very, very difficult to achieve.

Your mom, dad, friends, and spouse will probably also be passionate about your novel. They’ll tell everyone they know that it’s the greatest book around and that you are amazing and talented and perfect. And passion is exactly what you need while writing that first draft and when getting the very first feedback on your work. But it’s not what you want in an editor.

An editor should not be passionate about your book. An editor should be passionate about editing.

And that’s who I am. I’m an editor passionate about editing. I love editing so much that I will edit brochures in my mind. I love it so much that I often edit in the evenings while everyone else is playing video games or watching TV. I love it so much that I regularly give away advice, services, and my online course for free.

This is me editing.

This is me editing.

I am passionate about editing. I am not passionate about your book.

That is not to say that I don’t want my clients to succeed. I do! I really, really do! It’s the greatest feeling in the world when I see that a client has reached publishing success. That’s what I’m here for – to help you on your journey to publication. But I am not here to fall in love with your book, to make you feel good about yourself, or to feel deep waves of passion as I read your novel.

So if you want comments like, “OMG, I love this part!!!!” that’s perfectly fine. That’s just the stage you’re at with your writing. It’s a healthy stage and it’s a passing stage. If what you’re looking for is emotional support, you need to ask a friend or relative to read your book.

But if you want comments like, “This section is slowing down the plot. Cutting it would increase the tension.” then hire an editor, a good editor, one that isn’t going to blow hot air to keep you happy. It takes a lot of guts to ask an editor to criticize your work. I know that and I respect that. I always tell my clients to take it slow and to come to me with any questions, concerns, or confusion.

My clients who are truly (emotionally) ready for an editor call me things like “invaluable,” “fantastic,” and “a huge help.”

When you go to a mechanic, you don’t expect them to fall in love with your car. And you’re not going to accuse the mechanic of being “terse,” “cold,” or “bitchy” when he tells you that your car is totaled because you drove it into a brick wall. Mechanics tell the truth. Editors tell the truth. The real question is whether or not you’re ready to hear it.

Are you ready to hear it? Check out my editing services.

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