Working with an editor is a great privilege and will undoubtedly make your book 100% stronger. All the writers I have spoken to on the matter say that their editors are wise people who must be listened to at all costs and I can’t argue with that. If you think about it, a writer takes a year (or more) to produce a book, editors are working with different authors on numerous books all year round. Their editing skills improve more in a year than probably an author’s skills do in a lifetime. It’s their job after all, so ignore them at your peril.
But to the uninitiated, working with an editor can be a shock to the system. It certainly was to me. Even with the knowledge that you’re in good hands and that your book will be sharper and stronger for it, editing is a tough process. I’ve yet to meet an author who hasn’t nodded in agreement with a knowing look in their eye when I’ve admitted that the first time I received my manuscript from my editor I cried a little. It sounds ridiculous, but it was the sheer amount of work I was facing when I thought I was almost there. Once I wiped away the tears I realised that as a writer I was being asked to level up, (as my tutor used to describe it to me), and leveling up is painful. But what do they always say? No pain, no gain. And after the hard work is done, you see the difference in your work, and that is a great moment. And as writers, we are always improving, with every word we write, with every mistake we make and with every triumph we achieve.
The best way to prepare before you get an editor is to join a writer’s group. There you will learn to accept constructive criticism, hone the editing part of your brain, and to distance yourself enough from your work to really see its flaws. You will also gain a small but insightful widow into how hard an editor’s job is, as they try to improve your work without putting you into floods of tears. A few tears are fine, floods of tears are not so good. But so you know you’re not alone, just know that editing is painful, and the odd tear along the way is expected and normal. You’re in good company, with just about every other writer around (except for the few rare exceptions who love editing – they have nerves of steel!).
For those writers who decide that indie publishing is for them, you can actually hire an editor to go through your work. Reedsy.com is a great place to look, and it’s a site that brings writers, professional editors and book designers together. The one tip I’ve been told if you decide to get an editor from this site is to search for an editor that works in your genre, as they will be best placed to edit your work.
I’d also recommend watching Ellen Brock’s YouTube channel, just search Ellen Brock editor. She is an editor who has kindly given up her time to film short 5-20 minute videos with tips on editing your work, improving your writing and there’s even advice on submission letters. So whatever stage you are at, there will be a video for you waiting.
Anyway, that’s it for now on editing. Good luck with the writing!