I blog about a number of ways to save money while self-publishing, but in this article, I offer tips for submitting a manuscript to potential editors (including myself) that will help ensure a lower rate for services...
First impressions have more impact on pricing than many realize. Be sure to send a clear, concise inquiry, and format your sample following academic standards:
12-point font (Times New Roman is the most common)
Double-spaced lines (no extra space between paragraphs)
1-inch page margins
Preferably a .doc or .docx file created in Word
OR a link to a Google doc file that can be easily converted to Word
If the editor prefers to see the full manuscript (and if/when you decide to work with the editor), be sure to send the complete manuscript in one file that is formatted as shown above. If files are sent in any other format or as multiple files that need to be compiled, the editor might interpret the project as requiring more time and may start planning accordingly pricewise.
Primarily, the prices for editing services are tiered by what type of editing is needed AND how many of those corrections are needed throughout. This combination determines how many hours are needed for the editor to complete the work, and hence the price for those services.
It might surprise some writers to hear that if the writing needs more work (time), that can mean less income for the editor, not more. As a business model, it is often more lucrative to take on multiple projects that require less work and can be completed quicker than fewer projects requiring more work. I can’t speak for all editors, but I am always on the lookout for strong work that I will enjoy polishing and enhancing and can edit in a reasonable amount of time for a lower price.
No matter what type of editing your manuscript needs, how do you ensure it needs the least amount of it?
Do multiple reads of your completed draft and make sure one read is out of order. I.e., read from the last section/chapter to the beginning, or randomly select sections/chapters to review until finished.
Spend some time away from the manuscript before doing a final edit.
Read the manuscript out loud...
and/or turn on “Read Aloud” in Word and listen to the manuscript.
If you primarily type drafts, print a version, then manually mark edits (and vice versa).
If you’re prone to repeat specific errors, individually search those out using “Find” in Word, then review and correct each occurrence.
Utilize beta readers, 3–5 is ideal.
But if you do all that, why would you still need an editor?
Because you know what’s supposed to be on the page and that makes you prone to see that rather than the error. Also, there are a lot of grammar and punctuation rules most writers miss because they weren’t familiar with them to begin with. Either way, every best-selling author has at least one editor, usually a team, including a number of proofreaders post-editing. Everyone needs fresh, skilled eyes on their manuscript, and if you do your due diligence, you’ll be able to save money in the process.