Many authors completely underestimate not only the time it takes to edit a book, but the value of a good editor.
“Oh, it’s quick read. You should get through it in no time.”
Ah, actually, it doesn’t happen that fast.
An editor isn’t just reading your book. He/she is analyzing everything — character development (fiction) / argument presentation (non-fiction), scene development, tone of voice, point of view consistency. Even if your manuscript isn’t riddled with spelling, grammar and punctuation issues, all these other things take time.
On average, a full content edit on a 50,000-word manuscript can take up to 100 hours. Still think it’s worth an editor’s time to pay only $200 or $300 for 100 hours? Would you work for that? A copy edit normally takes about 50-80 hours, and a proofread 40-60 hours. If your manuscript is more than 50,000 words (and most are), obviously the time involved would be more.
An editor also has to deal with many authors who, although they’ve hired a professional, are still resistant to change and can make the overall process emotionally draining and difficult. Editors respect the fact that you’ve emotionally invested in your manuscript. Our job is to make sure that impact comes across as best possible to draw the attention of agents, publishers, and — most important of all — readers.
The editors in our network are included because of their experience and instincts. Yes, instincts are important. It’s one thing to know every grammar rule you were ever taught (or not taught) in English class; it’s quite another to understand what publishers and readers are looking for, and when a particular grammar rule doesn’t apply.
Darlene Oakley (Next Level Editing and Transcription) – Content Editing (includes developmental and substantive editing), Copy Editing, Proofreading
Pat Hauldren (website/business name) – Content Editing