Finding An Editor For Your Book

If you are a first-time writer for a book, it makes good sense to get an editor for your book. If you are the writer, chances are, you are too close to your work that you may think something is quite understandable when it is not; you may also not readily notice mistakes and typos since you know what to expect (you wrote the material and re-read it several times) and chances are, even if there were mistakes, you would still read it perfectly since you already have the words in your brain or in your head.

Working with an editor will also make you feel more confident about your book, particularly if you are working with an established writer. An established writer will lend credibility to your book and can also give you useful writing tips that can improve your writing in the future.

The minimum budget (at 2008 prices) that you should allot for an established editor would be anywhere from P5,000-P15,000 per book. Some editors may charge by the page. The rate charged will depend on the number of years that your editor has spent in the business and how established he/she is. You can ask your editor to do copy editing (to correct grammar, punctuation, etc.) or beyond copy editing. Beyond copy editing will, of course, cost more since the editor will now look into how your book is structured, how certain portions are written, rather than just making corrections on the copy as it is here and there.

If you want the book ready by a certain month, you should have the manuscript with your editor about two to three months before to be safe. Your editor will probably be working on several projects at the same time and he/she probably has another job aside from editing certain writing projects. Your manuscript will probably stay with him or her for about a month.

In the case of Mom’s A Stewardess, we were targeting to have the book ready in June 2008 for a launch in early July 2008. I met with my editor, Ms. Rica Bolipata-Santos (more on her in a future entry) in late March (if am not mistaken) and then I got back my manuscript in late April. I needed to submit the edited manuscript to my publisher Claretian Publications by the end of April 2008.

In this day and age of the internet, I was pleasantly surprised to have been asked by my publisher to provide a printed manuscript to the editor. I guess this makes correction for the editor easier and it also makes it easier for the publisher to track changes and corrections. This allows them to also assess the extent of work done by the editor.

The publisher also decides, more or less, whether the writer’s original version or the editor’s corrected version will be used. In the case of Claretian, they mentioned to me, that as much as possible, they would like to “preserve the style of the writer.” They also mentioned that sometimes, some editors change the work of the writer so much that the writer no longer recognizes what he or she originally wrote.

How did I choose my editor for my book? I chose someone I didn’t know personally. I figured it would be easier to work with somebody whom I only knew on a professional basis. Sometimes, when you work with relatives or friends, it makes it difficult to be more upfront or demanding since you have a “relationship” with each other. Then, should something go wrong, you can’t get as mad since you need to preserve the relationship long after the business transaction has ended. (Well, Ms. Rica and I didn’t know each other before this project but luckily, all went well and no one got mad…)

I also chose someone who was responsive enough. Someone who promptly replies to e-mail inquiries and text messages. Someone who is not hard to set meetings with. Someone who is willing to meet near my home. =)

I thought Ms. Rica was perfect for the editing job since she was also a mother with kids and since my book was written from the point of view of a mom, I thought she could relate with what I had written. I also found it interesting that when I first e-mailed her to inquire about editing services, she said that she wanted to meet with me initially so that “she could hear my voice.”

Well, everything went fine so am happy with the editor that I chose. Not only did I find someone to edit my book, she also gave me very useful writing tips and very funny stories! More on my encounters with Ms. Rica Bolipata Santos is future posts.

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