The first thing an editor should do is ask for a random sample of your manuscript. This sample can come from anywhere in your book as long as it’s long enough (10-20 pages is best) for the editor to get a feel for your style and see where they can help you.
Next, the editor should give you a written assessment of services you will need to be followed up with a phone conversation explaining them. This is when the editor will ask about your time commitment to working on the book.
Finally, the editor will outline their plan for your book in writing and include pricing, and estimated start and finish dates followed by a contract if everyone is in agreement.
A reputable editor will not promise you a firm completion date. While both of you will agree on a “target” finish date, reaching this date largely lies in the hands of the writer. If there are re-writes to be done, only the writer can complete them and as we all know sometimes the magic is there and the writing is easy and sometimes it isn’t.
A reputable editor will not agree to simply proofread your manuscript when it needs a developmental edit first. Proofreading a manuscript that is not well written is like putting a new coat of paint on a rotten fence. This is a complete waste of time, and no editor will want their name attached to a book that is not the best that it can be, and you shouldn’t want them to. If you are committed to introducing a quality book to your readers, then be professional and take the time to do things correctly. Professional editing will always serve you well.
Lastly, you may be tempted to have your editor sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before any work is started on your book. Some will sign it, most won’t. You can’t copyright an idea (which is what your book is). You are not the first person to write about coming of age, lost love, or murder. If you and I were given the assignment to write about the same subject with the same character names, we would come up with two very different stories. Also, nobody wants to steal your ideas, and it rarely happens. If you want to copyright your work with the U.S. Copyright Office, that’s up to you, but this doesn’t involve your editor.
Have more questions? Ready to get that manuscript edited? Contact Alana today (800-516-1682 or firstname.lastname@example.org)!