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Advise needed about editors

edited February 2014 in Writing
Hi, I have recently finished my first novel, which is 100,000 words long. I am hoping to self publish eventually but don't really know where to begin.

I've found an editor, who I know from my writing group and from all accounts she is very good and she has experience working in the genre I wrote for. But I am worried about cost. I decided I wanted a full edit, that includes copyediting and a structural edit from first draft stage. Which costs around £900, in interest free instalments. But looking into self publishing further and I'm starting to wonder whether I should spend so much on editing alone. I want my novel to be good and well developed but I'm on benefits and can't afford to spend too much.

Has anyone else had any experience with structural editing, if so how much did you pay and was it worth it?

Any advise on self publishing would also be welcome.


  • Baggy will probably be able to suggest what you should be considering.
  • Can you not edit yourself? You'll be 900 pounds richer if you do.
  • That's a lot of money for anyone to spend on one element of the process.

    A book on editing would be a good investment.

  • Very interesting comment.I had an editor when 'Court of Foxes' was taken on by a small publisher.She only suggested a few minor changes, and everything seemed fine..until they went bust! Last year I was told of an international book review competition, so sent a copy.To my surprise, months later, another children's author (well known) emailed me congratulations as both our books were in the Longlist (wow!). She made it to the short list of five, BUT when I received my crit, it was wonderful except for the reason it didn't go further.You've guessed it. They felt the editing near the end was poor! So what does that say about paying for a freelance editor?
  • That one must choose an editor with care?
  • Agreed, Baggy, but HOW do you separate the editorial wheat from the chaff?
  • Like plumbers and builders personal recommendations, and quotes?
  • That seems like a lot of money. It would be difficult to make that back from a self-published book - I know some people do but they are the exception.

    It might be worth getting some feedback/a critique on the synopsis/first chapter first to see whether the book has potential before spending that kind of money on it. Not trying to be a downer, just being realistic.
  • Writing magazine had a service that you might want to look at- I know some Talkbackers have used it in the past and found it helpful.


    And with a good book on editing you'll be able to sort out quite a bit yourself.

  • Friend or foe, everyone has to make money, and me ever the skeptic, where is the best place to find potential customers when you pay your bills by editing? - Places where writers gather.
    I suggest looking to get chapter or two edited to a high level look for the things they point out, edit the rest yourself - with those comments in mind. And like our resident editor Baggy suggests get a couple of books. In the long run you and your writing be better and stronger for it.
    £900 is two conventions - in which you get editing, one to ones and so much more. Consider what would be the better investment in YOU.
  • Have a look at:
    Doug Watts here is pretty good and fees are reasonable
  • I know someone who does full edits - is this a first draft, Tiff? I could pass on your details?
  • Heather said: "It might be worth getting some feedback/a critique on the synopsis/first chapter first to see whether the book has potential before spending that kind of money on it. Not trying to be a downer, just being realistic."

    I'd agree, even a more reasonable price will still be a cost for you to finance. Get some unbiased feedback before spending a penny.

    What's the genre etc?
  • More like a second draft. Its a paranormal romance novel.
    Thanks for the advise!
  • Perhaps someone on here might offer to read a chapter?
  • I have had my writing tutor read my first 2 chapters and my synopsis, she said the chapters were very good but the synopsis needs some work.
  • edited February 2014
    I'll have a look at it if you like. I've done some editing and proofreading for friends (one of whom is a publisher), quite apart from my own work. Send me a pm if you're interested, and I'll give you my email address.
  • That sounds a VERY high price - unless you have written a 300,000 word epic.
  • Maybe you could put a few chapters on a site like http://www.youwriteon.com
    Readers will often see errors/problems you'll miss yourself. I've had work on there in the past and found it helpful.
    £900 when you don't have a lot of money is too much. But, if you are going ahead with it I would ask for a two to three chapter edit first to make sure the editor can deliver the goods.
    All of my books so far, have been traditionally published, but before I submit my final version I always edit on paper (you see more mistakes) and I also find editing on Kindle helpful.
    You could also try teaming up with another writer and editing each others work.
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