Stages of Writing: Post #5 (Editing)

In looking for an editor, it’s important to keep in mind that not one editor fits all.  A lot of it will depend on your personality and the personality of the editors.  Different personalities work together better than others.  With that said, I’ll hit on the key points in the video above.

1.  Where Can You Find Editors?

Social media is an excellent way to find them.  This is why social media is so much more than telling people you have a book.  It’s about establishing relationships and meeting new people.  It’s about building connections you wouldn’t have otherwise developed.  I’ve seen editors on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Kindleboards, Google+, and on other sites.  Maybe you don’t know any editors, but it’s possible someone on your friend’s list or in your group might.  Ask around.  Get referrals.

You can find them in person.  This is one reason why conferences are so great.  At a conference, you get to meet people in person, and there have been several editors at the ones I’ve gone to.  There are also writers who can direct you to editors they’ve used.  Another possible avenue is your local writing group.  It’s possible there might be an editor there or someone might know someone who edits.  Again, this is where ideas of referrals come into play.

This is why it’s important to get out and meet people, whether online or in person.  You never know who you’ll come across.

2.  How Do You Know If You Have a Good One?

Ideally, the editor you have is one who is familiar with your genre or knows something about the topic you’re writing about.  For example, an editor who is familiar with romances will be able to best guide a romance writer in how to make the emotional connection between the hero and heroine stronger through the conflict they face.  Another example, a person writing a legal thriller could benefit from an editor who is familiar with laws. The more your editor knows about your genre, the better this editor can help you.

Keep in mind that there are different types of editing.  There’s the edit that looks at the overall story.  How is the pacing?  Do the transitions between scenes work?  How are the characters relating to each other?  Is it believable?  There’s also the edit that is more specific.  Does the sentence flow smoothly?  Is a word repeated too much?  Could a different word work better?  Are there any consistencies?  Are your facts correct (ex. historical or legal facts)?  Then there’s the final polish up where the editor looks for typos and such.  You can have one person do all of this, but it’s helpful to break these areas up instead of having everything looked at one time.

A recommendation is to do the major edits before proofreading.  That way you did your big changes before having to polish up the small ones.

3.  Be Aware of Tax Obligations so Trust the Person Who Works For You  (This Applies to the United States)

One thing I learned is that if you pay an editor (or cover artist or formatter or anyone in a business related area) more than $600 in one calendar year, you will owe them a 1099.  I’m going to have my accountant issue a 1099 to my editor, cover artist, and the person who promotes me at craft shows.  So there are three people I will have to get a 1099 to for their work over the course of this year.

So trust is something you should build up with this editor.  If you pay them more than $600, you will need their social security number or business ID, name, and address in order to issue the 1099.  Anyone editing will have to consider what kind of client you accept because you might be asked to fill out a W-9 so the author who hired can get you that 1099.

You don’t need an accountant to send out a 1099.  Your payroll specialist can do it (if you use that service).  You can do it yourself.  But I choose to go with my accountant because he happens to be great at his job and is dependable.  Plus, I hate figuring out tax stuff and would rather have him do it for me.  What you do depends on your comfort level.

For those of you living outside the United States, someone passed on this book at Amazon that covers taxes for self-published authors.  I have not read this book, nor am I familiar with international taxes.  The best source of advice is ultimately your tax advisor.

If all that freaks you out, consider bargaining services. 🙂


  1. M T McGuire says:

    Wow. All that 1099 business sounds amazingly complicated. Here in the UK we might pay v.a.t. If they’re registered but they do all that, unless we’re registered too and we’re paying it back. They do their tax return and apart from adding it as an out doing with our profit and loss when we’re doing our profits for tax nothing needs to be done.

    You’re right about social media. I found a truly excellent editor just by commenting on a Reblog. 🙂



    1. I don’t see the point in the 1099 unless we’re dealing with the royalties. It seems to be more paperwork. I’d be more inclined to understand sending a 1099 to my editor and cover artist if I was paying them $5000 or more in a year (which I never do). But $600? That’s not going to do much for them. Where I live (central US), you can’t even rent a decent apartment for one month for $600. It’d be nicer if you could just deal with receipts for services rendered and rely on that. I’m not comfortable asking someone for their social security number because it should be private. Fortunately, these are people I’ve met online or in person and have known for over four years. You have to really trust someone to hand over your social security number, especially with the incidents of identity theft we deal with in the US.

      Social media has been so great, hasn’t it? It’s wonderful when you get to find people you can connect with. 😀

  2. ronfritsch says:

    Here are my belated thanks for this post. I like the advice to “do the major edits before proofreading.” It’s difficult for some writers — I’m one of them — to decide no further improvements are possible and the time for that last step, proofreading, has come.

    1. I agree. Knowing when to say it’s done is hard. No matter how many times you go through it, there is always something could be better. 🙂

  3. I’m FINALLY getting around to watching this! I’m glad you mentioned that proofreading (also known as line editing) should be done last. Sometimes you’ll have a beta reader or content editor suggest a change in the story. You might have to add a scene. Or part of one. That part you added also needs to be proofread. I proofread a book one time, and the author had it sent out to beta readers, content editors, and another proofreader, and when she was trying to do edits, she got herself very confused. So then I had to proof it a second time. Yes, proofreading always should come last!

    1. Oh yikes! What a mess it would be to have to go through a book again after it’s been polished up. Writers who do all of that proofing before they add more stuff in are making things harder for themselves. Definitely get all the big changes out of the way before you tackle the little things.

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