At Christmas I gifted myself a 100-page edit of my completed novel from a pro. Money well spent.
A few things that I’ve learned:
- I’m not an editor. I’m a writer.
- You can spend a LOT of time doing edits, but an editor will still find a LOT of things that need editing
- You can be a good writer and still have the occasional dangling participle, misspelling, and other ‘amateur’ errors
- Research the editor in advance. This is expensive.
- If you can afford a full novel edit, do it.
- Learn from your editor. My editor’s notes were very specific. I can use what I learned to polish the rest of my novel. (The second best option if you can’t afford the full edit)
- There will be a LOT of deleting suggested. It’s hard to get rid of large sections of something you worked so hard on. Remember you have paid an expert to make your novel better. Do what the editor suggests. Take a deep breath. Now re-read what’s left. You might be surprised that less (really is) more
- Take your time doing the edits. I’m SO ready to query this novel. I have reminded myself several times to slow down. This is part of the process and it takes time. Don’t query until the novel is as good as it can be.
- Your editor should allow you to email and ask questions about the edits. This should be included in your cost. But be patient, you’re not the only person sending your editor emails.
- Don’t take it personal. You hired this person to find mistakes, not point out how great you are. If your editor is nice, he/she will throw in the occasional ‘I like what you did here’, but the majority of the notes will be pointing out mistakes or places that need improvement.
- Smile. You completed a novel! Whether it’s your first or 10th, it was a lot of work and you persevered. Good job! Go eat some chocolate, you earned it.