You’ve determined what variety and flavour of yogurt—or editor—you want. Just a couple more questions, and you’ll be ready to peel the lid off this project!
Question 3: What’s your shopping budget?
That bargain brand yogurt might seem appealing—but will it really satisfy you? Similarly, with editing, you might be tempted to go with the cheapest option available, especially if you know you’ll need more than one “variety” (or level) of editing for your project. After all, Great-Aunt Gertrude was an English teacher for thirty-five years—surely she knows what she’s talking about. And she’ll edit your book for free!
Consider the pros and cons of such a choice first, though. Great-Aunt Gertrude may mean well, but she likely has not kept abreast of the changes and developments in editing conventions over the years. She might even insist, for example, that punctuation must “always” or “never” be used in certain ways with no awareness of the importance of style guides (such as The Chicago Manual of Style) for making editing choices. Best, then, to thank Aunt Gertrude for her offer but seek out a trained professional who is current with editing guides and practices.
What about fees, then? Yes, often a newer editor will charge lower fees as they build up their business and experience, and you could still get a great job done. On the other hand, a more expensive editor likely has many more years’ experience under their editing belt and has developed a stronger sense of the nuances of editing that they can apply to your unique project. In either case, the editor may be bringing to bear knowledge and skills honed over a previous career that may be especially applicable to your work.
Ultimately, the decision is yours. Just be sure to set a realistic budget that takes into account a professional editor’s training and experience and avoid haggling. You wouldn’t head to the checkout with your yogurt and offer to pay fifty percent of the labelled price, would you? Some editors will reduce their fee for a reduced scope of work, but please keep in mind that editors need to earn a living wage too 🙂 .
Question 4: What’s your “best before” date?
Once you’ve settled on your variety, brand, and flavor of yogurt, do you just grab the first container off the shelf? Or do you take a moment to check the expiry date to ensure it matches your plans for when you intend to eat it?
Editors are busy professionals, and often we’re booked out months in advance. Assuming that the editor you’re interested in is free to take on your project immediately may be unrealistic. One of the first questions to ask your potential editor is when they would be able to begin and complete your edit. If you have a hard “expiry date,” let them know; if you’re more flexible with your timeline, you’ll have a better chance of snagging your preferred editor. Remember that editors seldom work on just one project at a time, so their timeline may seem longer than you expect. Trust that your editor will deliver your freshly edited project on time—or even ahead of the “expiry date” if at all possible.
Congratulations! You’ve faced the “Great Wall of Editors” and prevailed! You’ve determined what variety, or level, of editing you need. You’ve considered what your right “flavour” of editor would be. And you’ve reviewed your editing budget and “expiry date” to narrow down to your best options. Take the time to work through these basic questions, and finding the right editor for your project will be simpler than picking the perfect yogurt 🙂 .