I gave six editors my first six pages to trial edit, and they all came back with different advice??? I’m surprised by the differences between editors, and the things one editor picks up that others overlook. My advice in selecting an editor is to ask for a trial edit to check them out first. Even if they don’t offer one upfront, which they should, ask for it. My experience is they will jump at the opportunity.
What you’re looking for is a good fit, someone who gets you, your story and the way you write. An American editor suggested using words that were completely foreign to my Australian version of English. It just didn’t fit, didn’t sound right to me and changed the flow of the text. She was right that a different word needed to be used, but I dare say an Aussie would have had a more appropriate suggestion.
You’ve got to understand too that some editors just don’t get what you’ve said, whereas others get it straight away. It will be the same with readers. So do you compromise your writing to try to fit both? Sometimes yes, but more often than not, no! If they read it again after getting to the end of your book, after getting to know your writing style, sense of humour, perspective; they may then get it, some never will. It’s like accents, we often haven’t a clue what someone with a new accent is saying, but after a while, we start to understand, and hopefully, appreciate it.
I resisted the temptation to make suggested changes before sending the first six pages to the next editor, so I could compare them. It worked really well.
I also sent some to proofreaders. The difference between a proofreader and an editor is like chalk and cheese. A proofreader crosses the t’s and dots the i’s, an editor will do that too, but so much more, like picking up on your point of view changes, and pointing out what doesn’t make sense, or could be communicated better, but an editor will miss things a proof reader won’t. So it’s as if you need to get edited first, and then proofread before publication. In other words, ya gotta fork out the bucks for both. If you think self-publishing is going to be an easier or better way to go, think again! It’s incredibly difficult to do well yourself, and bloody expensive to pay for someone else to do what you can’t do yourself. Anyway, more on that later – I’m building up a big rant on that subject...
So did I find an editor out of the trials? No, not even close. However, a lady from my writing group who volunteered to do the pre-edit, edit, is fantastic! So I’ll see if she’s interested in taking on the job professionally. Fingers crossed.