Thursday, March 25, 2010

Check out Rachelle Gardner's Blog Post on Freelance Editors

I rarely post just to send you to someone else's blog, but I really loved Rachelle Gardner's post today. It tackles the question of whether or not to hire a freelance editor for your book.

I've often wondered about this. I've heard before that hiring an editor is necessary so you don't make a fool of yourself by missing "amateur" mistakes in your writing, typos, etc. But I've always balked at the idea because I've got a great group of critters who look for those things for me. Each of them has a different strength, too, and will find different types of errors. Still, I've worried that having my work critiqued by fellow writers isn't "good enough," and that an agent or publisher is going to see that I haven't had my work professionally edited.

Rachelle points out that freelance editors should serve essentially the same purpose as a good critique group. And she states flatly that having an editor "fix" the issues in your book for you doesn't teach you anything, and can--and this is my favorite point--mask your real ability (or lack thereof) from the eyes of the agent.

YES! That settles it for me. I can see the need for hiring a professional editor if you don't have the benefit of great critters, or if you're going to self-publish. But, I now feel much better about my decision to not go that route.

Anyway, you can read the whole post on Rachelle's blog.


Sonja Hutchinson said...

I hired a professional editor when I finished writing my first novel. It was worth the dough - I learned so much from her, and took everything I learned into my next five novels. It definitely worked for me.

Kat Heckenbach said...

Thanks, Sonja--that's the proper way to utilize an editor! I think writers often, though, look at it as having someone come along and fix things "for" them, rather than looking at is as a way to learn to not make the mistakes in the first place.

What Rachelle's post told me is that the important thing is to get skilled eyes on your work and learn from them--which is something I already do at every opportunity. And that if I'm not in a position where I can hire a professional, it doesn't mean doom.

KM Wilsher said...

Great post, Kat. I had wondered a little if that would be necassary at some point. I have a good crit group. They edited my Cobra entry 30 times LOL.

good to know. . .:0)

Dayle James Arceneaux said...

The best thing I ever did was hire an editor. But it really matters who it is.

I would never pay more than $500, though.

I learned more from having my book edited than I did from all the conferences and books I've read on the subject.

Unfortunately, the author who edited my work doesn't do it anymore.

If I get published, I'm gonna do some freelancing (for a good price) myself.

Kat Heckenbach said...

I guess maybe I'm in the minority here. I've been to some incredibly informative writing groups, with professional authors who really know how to teach. And I've got some amazing critters, too.

I did have a professional magazine editor go through a personal experience story of mine--the first one I ever wrote. That was immensely helpful, I'll admit. But it cost me nothing :).

And, yes Dayle, it is of the utmost importance to find a good one. I've read work that was supposedly professionally edited and horrendous. Do your research, and read work they've edited.

Brandon Barr said...

Hey Kat,
It's like pure gold to have a good critique group. Unfortunately the one I'm part of only meets once a month, so it's impossible to do novels that way...(do you meet once a week??)
I had one novel edited by a professional. THE KEY to getting a good editor is to find an editor who is also a writer. They have more insights into writing. My editor was Alethea Eason and she's published by Harper Collins. She also came highly recommended by a writing professional...I definitely learned a lot from her. She edited my archeological adventure novel which is currently being shopped around.

I think a good critique group can work as well though. But I have to admit, it was really exciting seeing what she did to the novel