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So you are one of many first time authors that have finally completed your novel and are now looking for a novel editor or proofreader. Fantastic! This means that you want to publish your manuscript. And I assume that you’re wise enough to know that getting the manuscript edited professionally is critical. However, I’ll be the first to tell you that getting a great, experienced editor that will treat your manuscript with care is a difficult task. So I have created 5 steps to help you get started.

1) Should I get copy editing or proofreading?
Why not both? Some editors cost less for ‘proofreading only’ as opposed to content editing. The particular distinction is that proofreaders fix mistakes only, while copy editors make many more substantial modifications. I know that you think your book is perfect and also you don’t want anybody to mess it up, but trust me…a book (especially one just completed, and doubly a first novel) needs a whole lot of tender loving and care. A fantastic editor will look for plot inconsistencies, poorly written dialog, lack of character motivation, chapters that don’t move the plot forward, unusual word choice and more. Spending money on an editor who knows what they are doing is similar to getting a private writing tutor. You will get back a much stronger manuscript.

2) Costs. Just how much should you pay for proofreading and editing?
Costs can vary considerably. It is based on length of the project, expertise of the editor or simply quality of the editing. Don’t expect a cheap cost and never look for a ‘deal’. With that being said, a lots of proofreaders overcharge. Shop for the most qualified editor who has dealt with similar projects before, and see if they fit in your ‘budget’. Editing a novel is usually between $500 to $1500, however it’s a great and much needed investment.

3) Pick an editor with a background in literature
Many professional editors never studied English or editing. Find out what their background and credentials are. Some editors can very good at fixing mistakes and formatting, however can they recognize ‘poor’ writing and improve it? Is he/she themselves good writers?

4) Look for a native speaker, from the country you want your book to be successful in.
Proof of address isn’t any guarantee that they’re a native speaker. There are a lot of people that are excellent at English, although not all English is actually the same. Several countries speak blends of English which is not the same as the US/Canadian English, which is also different from UK English. Generally, US English is international English.

5) Where should you locate an editor?
First of all, search ‘novel editing/edit my novel’ in Google and see what comes up. Remember that the sites on the first page of Google are usually more established (have been around longer) and more expensive, but there are plenty of small companies with less advertising budget if you look past the first page results. I, personally had great experiences with smaller companies. Some of the companies are publishing companies as well that will also proofread and edit your book. This is the route I highly recommend.

Don’t rush when finding a good novel editor. You’ll be more successful if you take your time and do research. Visit http://firsttimeauthors.org to learn of a great publishing company that also provides excellent editing services and to also receive tips and a FREE valuable e-book on book writing for first time authors.

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