It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an author in possession of a manuscript must be in want of an editor. But how do you choose an editor? How much should you spend? Do you even need editing at all?
The answer is, it depends. If your manuscript is absolutely riddled with errors, then publishers and literary agents who skim your sample chapters might find it so distracting that they write you off without much consideration.
If you delivered a completed manuscript to your editor, odds are that you’ve received feedback in two different forms: comments in the margin of the manuscript and an editorial letter. Some people get overwhelmed with the feedback and have a hard time figuring out where to start. Here is how I would do it:
If you’ve never worked with a professional editor before, you probably have a lot of questions: How does the editing process work? What kinds of changes will the editor make to my manuscript? How will I know what changes he or she made? Most importantly, how do I ensure this remains my manuscript with my vision and style?
Not all repetition is bad. It can be used to emphasize or connect important ideas, like “I have a dream” in MLK’s best-known speech. But most of the time, it’s simply clutter. You want the reader so immersed in your story that they forget they’re reading words on a page. Anything that reminds them of your fingers on the keyboard MUST go.
Most editors (or maybe it’s just me) like to delude themselves that they are so eagle-eyed, so perfectionist that no error would dare elude them. According to one study, however, human proofreaders—even professional ones—are at best 95% accurate. Test me, test me! Surely I can beat that. I think.