What I've Learned So Far: Editing

I sat down a week or so ago and drafted out a calendar of sorts for social media and blogging and all that fun stuff and now my head hurts. Coming up with content is HARD friends. On top of everything else that needs to be accomplished to publish a book, doing all this other stuff really is just like...oh goodness.


Anyway, I've learned a LOT in the short time since I started this whole journey. And it made me realize that I basically will learn even more in the coming weeks and months. And it made me think that, for the small number of people who read this, it actually might help someone else. At the very least it'll be cathartic for me, I think, to be able to potentially look back someday at where I was back in 2021.


So I'm gonna title this series as "What I've Learned So Far", and then spend that blog post talking a little about a part of publishing a manuscript and what I've learned about that part of the whole process. And today, I'm gonna talk about editing.


Before I started the process of actually finding an editor, I thought I'd have to go through some company online or some person independently through their website. I'd have to go hunting and do a lot of begging and pleading for someone to edit my manuscript, and to do it in a semi-timely manner. And I thought I'd have to do this like, eight times to gather quotes and compare different editors.


And then my friend Alaina mentioned Upwork.


She's a ghostwriter and got started on Upwork, so she's well versed in their system, their rules, and how to navigate it all. Throwing caution to the wind, I went on and put the job description out there. I gave as much information as I felt was necessary to cultivate a quote from prospective editors. And when I hit submit I thought I'd get like...2 people that might send me a quote. And I fully expected those quotes to be massive. I had budgeted a fair chunk because, years ago, I got quotes from a couple editors.


I wound up with over 30 proposals sent to me.


So there was my new headache. How the heck do I choose one from another? The prices were insanely spaced from the bottom to the top. Their reviews were all pretty high and many of them had this banner with the "top rated" flag on their profile. With glowing reviews and nothing but nice things said about the editors that had submitted proposals. So how do I choose?


Again, Alaina to the rescue. It's perfectly acceptable to ask for sample edits. Oh, well, that changes things doesn't it? Some of the editors only did 3 pages, some only 10, others a whole chapter. So I submitted the first chapter to each editor I seriously thought was a good candidate (narrowed down by their reviews, previous projects, and price). Ultimately, I contacted I think 8 of the 30 that submitted a quote. I then sat back and looked over everyone's style, what they caught, how they edited, things like that. There were a number of contenders after that point. But only one of them caught the passive voice on the first page of the manuscript that I had totally missed. And her edits were clear and concise, and never did I feel like she was putting me down when she adjusted the errors.


She has been lovely to work with so far! Sending daily updates and giving me encouragement as she comments on how much she's enjoying the story or how she's connecting with a character, or what happened that gave her a pleasant surprise. I'm definitely nervous to get the manuscript back, no doubt. But I'm also really looking forward to seeing what she had to edit and getting the book fully polished.


This process was such a learning curve, and thankfully every person I've interacted with has been super gracious about my inexperience. It's been harrowing and a little uneasy on my part, but that's what I've learned about editing so far.


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