Hiring an Editor

I finished writing the first draft of the book on April 18.  Over the next 6 weeks I edited the draft manuscript twice, my husband read it and gave feedback, and I prepared the manuscript to hand off to a professional editor.  I am happy to report that I found a terrific editor who lives near Seattle, WA and we are currently working through the draft.  Yay!

So, how did I find an editor?

I put my on my day-job hat and thought about what I would do to recruit the right kind of person for a similar project at work.  In that context I would write up a “request for proposals” document (RFP) and post it on a website that people who want that kind of work monitor regularly.  RFPs are usually posted for a specified period of time.  All proposals have to be in by the deadline.  After the submission deadline I would review the submitted proposals, rank them based on the requirements listed in the RFP and decide which one to award.

For the book I followed a similar approach.

  1. I researched what editors do and how much they charge. Several resources helped me understand this including Chandler Bolt’s website, Fiverr, Upwork, Reedsy and the Editorial Freelancers Association.
  2. I wrote an RFP. My RFP included a description of my book project, what I was looking for in and editor, my budget and how to submit a proposal.
  3. I posted my RFP on the right website.  I posted my RFP on four  websites but the one that produced the best results BY FAR was the Editorial Freelancers Association.
  4. I reviewed the proposals that were submitted on time and narrowed the list down to my top 3 candidates.
  5. I arranged phone interviews with the top 3 to make my final decision.

Ultimately, I received over 100 inquiries and 20+ full proposals for the job.  Two of the requirements listed in my proposal delivered the best results.  I would definitely include them in future postings because they worked so well!  They are:

  1. I asked each candidate to write a few sentences on why this particular project appealed to them.  This helped me separate those who just blindly applied to any posting from those who had some kind of personal connection with the content of the book.
  2. I asked each candidate to perform a sample edit of a 4-page excerpt from one of the book’s chapters.  The range of edits I received was so interesting.  Some people made a few tweaks here and there.  Others included detailed comments and questions all aimed at helping me consider the content at deeper levels or from new angles.

When one of the candidates asked me to describe what I wanted most in an editor, I used a visit to the dentist as an example.  I am one of those odd people who likes getting a cleaning – the deeper the cleaning the better.  It is sort of a sweet pain that I endure because I know how clean my teeth will feel in the end.  I explained I wanted an editor to perform a “deep cleaning” on my text – painful to go through but delivers an outstanding end result.

The deep cleaning is current underway.  My goal is to finish the editing process by the end of June.  Next steps after that include typesetting the manuscript, getting a cover designed and finalizing the book launch and marketing plan.

Stay tuned!  We are going to make the launch fun!  🙂

Take care,
Diane

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