Tour long Giveaway: $50 GC to editing services with Grammar Goggles
Whether just starting out or an experienced author, looking to break into a new market or planning to self-publish, Grammar Goggles can help you polish your manuscript and take it to the next level.
My main focus is on grammar and line editing but my rates also include low-level content editing, where I make note of any questions regarding continuity, pacing and story line. These services are built into the charge since I know, from experience, I can’t see problems in those areas without making mention of them.
Are You The One?
So, you’re eager to get your book out into the world and figure it’s time to stop futzing with the manuscript and get an editor to give it that important coat of polish.
Before you start emailing your contacts and sending your manuscript hither and yon, you need to make some decisions.
First, is your book really ready to be edited? For many authors, this isn’t a consideration. They’ve written books before and know when the manuscript is ready for the next stage. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. I’ve come across manuscripts that actually are first drafts, not completed books. Frankly, it’s a waste of money to have an editor edit your first draft, except in very specific circumstances. A first draft, unless you self-edit like a Boss as you go, is too raw for in-depth editing. After all the changes and corrections the editor may suggest, what you’re most likely left with is the manuscript you should have sent out for editing. Make the mistake of publishing that and the readers howl, and not with pleasure.
I’m going to assume you’re more experienced. You’ve harassed your critique partners into reading it, maybe even twice over. Your Beta readers have had a go too, and declared it as fine a piece of writing as you’ve ever done. If you’re a lone-wolf author, disinterested or perhaps downright put off by the thought of involving anyone else, you’ve probably gone over the book as many times as you can stand to. So, bottom line, it’s ready. Time to call in the polishing crew.
But which kind?
Not all editors do the same job, although there’s a fair amount of overlap, and some do it all. There are content editors, line editors, fact-checkers and proofreaders, all of whom can be of value, depending on your needs. Are you branching out into a new genre and worry you may not have covered the subject in a believable manner? Then you need a content editor, and one with more than a passing knowledge of the genre you’re writing in. They’ll look at your manuscript and let you know whether you’ve got it right or not, if there are holes you need to plug or if your story has gone off the rails in places. Content editors will be looking for plot, pacing and any other factors that pull the reader out of the story, rather than sucking them in.
On the other hand, if you’re very happy with the story as it stands and confident it doesn’t need that kind of input, you probably want a line editor. We’re the geeks who love language so much we’ve taken the time to commit to memory a lot of the grammatical rules most people forget as soon as the English teacher’s mouth closes. Weird crap about syntax and sentence construction, like whether onomatopoeia is always italicized or if moving an adverb from one place to another will actually make a difference. Not just academic knowledge either, but knowledge of how to apply those rules to fiction, or when not to.
There are some authors so confident of their abilities in the areas of grammar and syntax all they want is someone to check for spelling errors, and they’ll hire a proof-reader for that purpose. Others, especially when writing in genres such as historical fiction, military and police procedurals, etc. may hire a fact-checker to ensure they haven’t put something into the story that doesn’t belong.
Most authors are looking for a little of everything, and it’s not an unreasonable request. Just be sure the editor you hire offers all the services you require and always remember it’s a professional association. Don’t be afraid to check an editor out, ask questions, request they edit a small sample from your manuscript to see how they work, if it will help. It’s your book. You have to be comfortable and know, in the end, it is the best it possibly can be.