The AmWritingFantasy Podcast: Episode 60 – Different Types of Edits & When to Use Each


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Did you know there are three different types of edits and editors?

It's true!

And in today's episode, we go into different types of edits, how and WHEN to use each yourself or when hiring an editor.

Plus, a brief foray into costs of editors and a discussion on if you really have to pay that much.

Watch the video on how to find an editor that we mention in the podcast at

***AND don't forget this week is the LAST for our Patreon February Special Offer!

Join us for as little as $1 a month and receive our soon-to-be-released book Story Idea: A Method to Develop a Book Idea and a chance to win a spot in our premium writing course, the Ultimate Fantasy Writer's Guide!

Check out the offer at***

Tune in for new episodes EVERY single Monday.


Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review.

Read the full transcript below.

(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (2s): You're listening to the amwritingfantasy podcast. In today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need in literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing join to best selling authors who have self-published more than 20 books between them. Now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.

Jesper (30s): Hello, I am Jesper and I'm Autumn. This is episode 60 of the amwritingfantasy podcast so I think this one should be a very informative episode for the listeners who are new to writing. We are going to talk about different types of editing available to you and what you should expect to pay for it. I have a few notes on that and for the more experienced writers, we will share our views on which type of editing you need when you are a bit further along in your writing career.

Autumn (1m 7s): And it's so sad. I know a lot of authors are not excited about editing, but I absolutely love editing. So hopefully we get that enthusiasm leak through and not have people go running away going, Oh my God, I hated it. It gets, it's so exciting. I love it. A

Jesper (1m 25s): yeah, but that's good. I don't know quite how I feel about it, so, but they're one of us. Love it.

Autumn (1m 30s): Yeah. I can say wholeheartedly that it's one of my favorite parts of writing cause to really take something that might be rough, might not be rough, and to turn it into something whole and get it ready to be released is just, it's such an exciting time. Yeah.

Jesper (1m 46s): Yeah. So we're gonna get into all of that, but Hey, autumn, I got to tell you at our house to the voice of, I have a been home alone for about six days now. So I think that it's not good.

Autumn (1m 58s): No, I didn't know your wife was away. That's, yeah. So three bachelor is in the house.

Jesper (2m 5s): It's no good. I mean it without my wife in the house, things just gets really unhealthy really fast.

Autumn (2m 13s): Well. So she's the linchpin that keeps everything too.

Jesper (2m 16s): Yeah. Yeah. To the boys. They, they sort of, you know, they do, they're begging eyes and stuff and about unhealthy food and they can we have this and that and then it's like, yeah. Okay. So we've been cooking unhealthy food and a my youngest was a at one of his classmates birthdays parties yesterday. And then uh, when we got back home we turn on the PlayStation and we played FIFA for something like five hours together while we were eating candy and pop. So it's just like, this is no good.

Autumn (2m 45s): This is a side of you I had known existed. I was so shocked. But it sounds like a wonderful bonding experience and it's an amazing segue into what's going to be our next episode. But I'm going to save that for the ending. So it's very fitting

Jesper (3m 0s): for the next topic now that, well that's good. But I, I am happy to say that my wife returned from Finland this evening, so I am really looking for

Autumn (3m 11s): fantastic. Well, I hope you've made her a welcome home banner and tidy the house and everyone is filled on their junk food now.

Jesper (3m 20s): Yeah, well the tie, the house has been tidy than cleaned and I did all the laundry this morning as well, so that's pretty good. And uh, no, I mean the boys and I have been enjoying ourselves, but, uh, I must say I do prefer when she's around it just a. And the funny thing is, I don't know if you, if you feel this as well, but it's really weird. But when she's not in the house, it's not that she has to, you know, lie in the bed next to me, but I just sleep better when she's in the house. I don't know why it's so weird. Maybe it's like 20 years living together that does that to you.

I don't know, but it's just like when she's not in the house, I don't feel, I don't sleep as well.

Autumn (3m 56s): No, I totally agree. And especially it's for me, like if I know Adam's away, I can like tell myself, you know, I'm alone and I get myself to sleep. But if he's having, like if he's sick or he's having a bad night and so he goes and sleeps in another room to not disturb me, it actually disturbs me worse because I wake up and I just, I just feel that absence and I'm like, where are you? Are you okay? What can I do this just like, Oh this is just, it's totally counterintuitive. He leaves so that I don't, you know, he doesn't wake me up and I'm like, no, you left.

You woke me up.

Jesper (4m 28s): Yeah. But it's weird. And and usually I, you know, my, my wife works night shifts so she, she's not sleeping at the same hours as me anyway, but it's just like the fact that I know she's in another room into Houseton just I just sleep better. I don't know.

Autumn (4m 43s): Well it's very, very sweet, which is good cause you and I, we are both very a. We both had very long term commitments to our spouses, so I totally get that. And yeah, it's someone who's been in your life, like you said, 20 years, so of course you're going to be like so fine tuned to like, where are you? You're not here. Yeah. It's weird.

Jesper (5m 3s): Uh, yeah. And I know I've got confirmed that everything goes to shit when she's not around. So we're six days. Yeah, it's way. I mean, one or two days maybe, but this is way too much. Popcorn. Just felt good.

Autumn (5m 16s): I, I never thought it was true, but I know a few other people who have said that they're, they, they see their spouse leaving and they're like, Oh, I've got time. I'm going to finish this. I'm not going to be interrupted. I'm going to get all this stuff done. And for some reason you feel a little bit less directed. I don't know. I ended up really having a harder time focusing, even though I know I actually have more time to work on something. And so again, counterintuitive, I think, Oh, the other person's not here. I'm going to eat oatmeal and I'm going to get all this stuff done. I'm not going to make a big dinner. And I'm like, I'm lonely, I'm going to watch Netflix or it gives a little L.

Oh darn it.

Jesper (5m 56s): What about what you then

Autumn (5m 60s): good? Well you know that we've uh, we actually move this week. So that was kind of the exciting thing. We left are very adorable apartment that I'm thoroughly enjoy it except for the noise and being right on the main street in Brattleboro and we're moving just, I think it's only three or four miles South to a little cabin in the woods. But in between we came running up to Maine to pick up a few things. It's kind of sad when you're like, Oh we just drove 300 miles just to go pick up some stuff. But that is America and the distances here and that's what we needed to do.

So we'll be back down to the cabin and just a couple of days and I cannot wait to get it settled. We have some work to do there cause there's am it's part of the agreement for us renting it as that we are actually fixing it up and adding to it a little bit because we've done that before. We've lived in a year, we've built cabins, we've done all this craziness. So I'm looking forward to getting that done. So hopefully I see the end of February and like it'll be done and will be moved in and the spring, hopefully it'll snow once. We'll have the snow falling through the Pines and the hemlocks and there's a little stream out front by the wood stove and it'll just be heaven.

Until then I foresee a lot of hard work and ah, I'm getting, I don't know if it's older. My joints, I love you still love woodworking but now I do too much construction and uh, my hands flare up a little bit so I'm not looking forward to that. But

Jesper (7m 26s): no, we will get through. Yeah, I kind of a got enough of all of that some years back when when we were moving out of imp apartment that we had to fix it up before we sold it. And I already back then I told my wife, I'm never going to do this again. If we have to wait like two more years before we buy or sell anything in the future, we have to save up to get some builders to do this stuff for us because I'm not going to do it anymore. And if I hate it, Oh, we go on the internet with the amwritingfantasy podcast.

So I want to give people a reminder of what we mentioned on last week's episode because this episode that you're listening to right now is airing on the 17th and that's special offer that we announced last week, ends on the 23rd of February, 2020 that is. So basically this is your last chance. So as a reminder, what we're offering is an ebook of the plotting guide that we are releasing later this year. And not to forget, we're going to draw one lucky winner at random who will win a free seat in our premium braiding costs.

The ultimate fantasy writer's guide.

Autumn (8m 40s): Yes. I am looking forward to seeing who the winner is. And checking all that out and see who joined us on Patreon to the links are in the show notes and yeah, come on over while you can, while we have this special offer, we don't do this this often, so uh, now's a great time to join. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. It's very rare actually that we doing this sort of thing. So keep in mind that the deadline is on the 23rd and a. yeah, you just need to join us on as, as a or I'm sat there and I want to mention as well what I said last week though, the, the plumbing guide is actually going to be for sale on for nine 99 and you can get in for a $1 here.

So yeah, you do the math on that one. It's kind of worth joining. I do it if I wasn't already like hosting it. So I don't need to, I guess I've been working on the plotting book and so I know what's in it and I, uh, it's, it's a good, good book. It's going to be really great and I think help a lot of authors, which is exciting. Yeah, absolutely. And then I had you, you forwarded something to me that I had to share because ah, yeah, it's just so it's wonderful to get comments. So everyone who ever comments, even on the podcast, whatever you do, even if you're reading this, you know, someone's book comments and reviews are just so wonderful to get.

But we had a comment on one of our earlier videos is before we switched to being podcast based. So this is something that's very, I know it's so old, which is really exciting that someone only just found this YouTube video and they got really exciting and it was one that is am plotting a series before you, right. So this is something that came out summer of 2019 maybe late spring. And so I had nine months ago, but I wanted people to remember.

We do have these YouTube videos that are back there that are before the podcast, so if you're really enjoying these, go check them out. They're a little shorter. We've put a lot of effort into making these and uh, people have commented on them. Things like this, like this video had me florid. I'm used to watching several minutes of mindless chitchat followed by anywhere from zero to two useful pieces of information which I may or may not have already heard. Then here comes miss autumn telling me that all of this really helpful information I've never heard anywhere nor figured out on my own.

She's casually throwing it down so thick and fast that I had to keep replaying segments in the lecture. I have it all written down. You guys are a amazing with a couple of G's, which is awesome. I'm so sorry to see that. Your good faith attempt at creating a YouTube resource for writers didn't take off, which is why we're on the podcast now. You are both very accomplished and have so much value to share. I am so glad you are staying. Even if I met changing focus, focus to the podcast format and I would've been lost without this video and look forward to watching, listening to many more of your offerings as I work on my author dream.

So how is that for making you feel like warm and fuzzy? Yeah, that's so kind. This is so kind and a great reminder that we have some amazing videos that are there. More visual base because that is the format we were working on. So they only stayed as videos. We never transform them into a podcast. I guess we could always revisit them as a podcast there. And there's a wonderful YouTube channel. So if you guys have, you know, 20 minutes you want to spend and you've caught up on all of our 60 episodes Nella podcast go and check out the YouTube channel.

Jesper (12m 18s): Yeah, it actually, to be honest, it happens moderate or it has happened more than once. Um, that, uh, people have posted questions in the amwritingfantasy Facebook group and all I had to do was actually go to the YouTube channel and the link with a video. And post that as a response to the question race because quite often there is a good chance that there will be a video on the channel that actually answers the question that you are having because there's a lot of videos on, there was like three years worth of videos or something.

So at least once a week I think you were over a hundred. Yes. Over a hundred videos. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, so, uh, there's a good chance you can find something, but uh, of course you don't have to just key it is, I don't mind at all that you keep posting the questions in the Facebook group for you. Just notice sometimes I just reply with the video link and that's it. Fair enough.

Narrator (13m 13s): And on to today's topic.

Jesper (13m 16s): Okay. So editing, editing, editing, editing. And I guess those can be a bit confusing about the confusion about this stuff because there's different types of editing. But yeah, and when you're first starting out, you will, you hear different words being used or for or terms in terms of what editing is. But sometimes tear referring to the same thing can be a bit confusing.

Autumn (13m 43s): And I, I mean I do remember when I was first naive Lee working like I'd done a book and I before I'd become published, you know those early manuscripts that you pretend like you never wrote in are buried somewhere on a hard disk that you don't want to lose what you don't ever really want to find kin either. Um, and I really, I thought editing was maybe just punctuation or I really didn't understand that there were different types of editing in that to do it logically I had to figure out a sequence that worked for me. That is probably why I love editing now because I figured out a sequence that I really think is efficient and shows great results and works.

And I know that editing is not just, you finish writing draft one and then send it to an editor. There's like this whole, I have 10 versions usually between the finished draft one in the sense of the editor. There's a lot in there, right?

Jesper (14m 38s): Yeah. But th but I think there's like a, I don't know how you prefer to do this, but I was sort of thinking that we have, at least in my view here, we have light, we have like three different levels of editing, editing. So we have developmental, we have copy

Autumn (14m 52s): editing and we have proofreading. That's sort of the way I think about it. But I don't know if that aligns with you is I actually wrote down 5:00 AM versions. I don't know. Each one's is slightly different, but some of them sort of overlap. But yeah, so I, you have, you listed three and I actually considered almost five steps to do with an edit before, which is probably why I end up with 10 drafts because I probably do each of them as waves I guess. But I agree. You call yours, you start with the developmental at a I called mine, I call it content edit, but I think we're getting at the same thing, which is looking at your overall story structure.

Yeah. A developmental editing. Um, structural editing. You can also call it that. And so what did you just use? Their content continent is all the same thing. It is all of a sudden. I agree. And I want, I think is interesting is right off the get go there is contention on when you do that developmental edit for me there is a lot of people say you have to let your manuscript sit for at least a month, six months, a year.

And yeah, that's why there's this huge, I again, I've researched editing. This is like we found one of my weird hobbies I guess. I don't literally usually lead into people know how much I like editing probably cause I, I don't have time to edit other people's work. I barely have time on the podcast. That's not really, well they know, I love getting tips on editing because I do think it's fun. Um, but yeah, so most people say, you know, you need to let your manuscript even need to finish it and let it sit so you can come back with a fresh pair of eyes.

And while I don't disagree to me, you finish your last page and you know now how your book ends, which is an incredibly important piece of information when you haven't looked at your beginning for a few months, six months, a year, depending on how fast you write. And to me, to me, I like to whip out a sheet of paper and I have a um, a methodology I do when I do a content edit the first time and I do the fastest read through in the world and take notes on point of view characters, the major themes that happen, all of these notes that I then put down.

And I even little ones that say, Ooh, rough needs work, needs refinement. I write down the subplots, I write all of this information down on my content. Edits so that, um, after this first read through and by knowing how it ends, I get to compare it to the beginning and see if it makes sense. Or if I look at it going, it ain't the same book something happened in there. If there's some weird kink that I've got a smooth out or it's not gonna work out. I think that's just an incredibly important thing to do.

So I tell people you don't have to wait on your content edit, just go for it. Yeah, that's, that's interesting because

Jesper (17m 51s): and I think that's actually a good thing that we are coming at it from slightly two different angles because you edit as well. So in that sense you are an editor and are therefore you're looking at what do I do when I do this type of editing, where I'm coming from it from the angle of I'm hiring an editor to do this stuff, so what am I going to get when I hire somebody to do developmental editing for me. Exactly. Which is interesting because it's, it's, it's the same thing but it's two different perspective on it.

It is. And as again, some people, especially if you're new, you might not be able to figure this out until you've had someone you know, shepherd you through it a couple times. Or maybe you have the time and the resources that you can say, I am not learning how to do this. And you send it to a content editor, you trust all the time, which yeah, more power to you if you do. But I, I love being hands on and doing it myself. Yeah, absolutely. A but sometimes, I mean, especially when you're starting out, you need help from other people to other professionals who knows what they're doing and at least the developmental editing stage that's, so this has nothing at all to do with grammar and word choice or anything like that.

That's not what you're going to get here. Uh, if you're purchasing some, uh, developmental editing from an editor, they only focus on story level here. So this is like the big picture. So you should expect to get feedback on everything from how the story is structured. Uh, continuity issues, maybe problems with your pacing. They could give you advice on the characters that you're using. Yeah. And the arcs and so on, so on. So yes.

Basically the point is just to ensure at this stage that your novel will become a, let's call it good read, for lack of a better word, a before you actually spend a lot of time on fixing grammar and all that other stuff. So that, that'll be totally time waste if the editor ends up telling you, you know, chapter four to six is, is sort of derailing the entire thing. You need to rewrite those or do something differently or whatever. Right. And you will be glad you didn't spend a lot of time doing grammar stuff on chapter four to six.

That's just going to waste a lot of your time. Um, yes. Yeah, go ahead. Okay. Yeah. Is this a I think I like to put it that am you don't know if the words that you would be proofreading to fix the punctuation and the word choice or the spelling or even the words that are gonna make it to the final novel. So this is why you don't start with that. This is a content edit. So even just work out the, okay, so I'm building a am working on a building a cabin. So this is making sure that the foundation, the structure, the, you know, the roof is going to be supported at all is laid out, the bones of it are truly solid.

You need to figure that out before you worry about what color you're gonna paint the interior. Yeah. So we can call, we can talk about the cost towards the MTA, uh, for each of the types of editing. But I, I guess the quite unfortunate part here is that this developmental editing, if you are, if, if you're looking at it from the angle of hiring an editor, like I am not talking about doing it yourself, then a the unfortunate part about this is that this is usually something that the beginning writer needs and it is also the most time consuming and therefore also the most expensive type of editing.

So that's a bit, it's a bit sad that that's the way it is. So when you're first starting out and you have no money for it, then that's, that's where you have to buy the most expensive type of editing. But uh, yeah, I don't know, but that's just what it is.

Autumn (21m 31s): It is. And I mean, I know some people would get, try to get by with beta readers or alpha readers or a really good author friend who's more of a mentor. So there are other avenues, but definitely almost every first time writer new writers really need to do a content and it helps someone, you have someone help them through a content edit. It would be it really unusual for you to have right of first novel with all on your own and it's perfect and doesn't have any problems are structural plot, plot problems or characters, Oh, sorry, just being truthful.

But it's possible. You might be that 1000000th percentile. I can do it, but I definitely think this one's worth getting done. But it is huge and time consuming. And you can work with someone for months, if not years to make your novel perfect or at least it's perfect. It's going to get. So yeah, it's as you know, as best as it's going to get. And don't spend years on your novel. Please probably not unless, unless you're really young and you have a lot of learning to do and you're really a perfectionist, but hopefully it won't take that long.

But this is definitely one of the most expensive edits you can hire someone to do.

Jesper (22m 48s): Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So if we climb up the editing ladder than my next entry is copy editing, I don't know what yours are. You have five. So yeah, I

Autumn (22m 57s): do after my con, my read through. So I kind of continued or an initial read through where you do all of this outlining and get all this stuff together and then it's going back through in the chapters you like needs to be fixed or subplot loss, fixing all those problems. So that's still part of the content edit. I have like a read through and then content edit. So those are two parts of this whole. So my next one is, uh, the grammar and punctuation, punctuation. So yes, a copy edit. So I agree. This is after you got to the point where you feel like all the chapters, all the pacing's, right.

The characters are right. The words of you know, been smoothed out. Now you need to work on word choice as well as some grammar and punctuation. You getting that smoothness, that starting to look like English. Yeah.

Jesper (23m 47s): Starting to get that nice sheen to it. Yeah. Some also call this stuff line editing and again, in my book is the same thing. Um, but uh, I dunno, some might argue otherwise, but I, I in my view a copy editing and line editing is the same thing. Um, so the editor will review your manuscript and the am Oh yeah. First draft, whatever you want to call it. A but you know, once you're done with the novel and you feel like this is the best that I can make it on my own, you probably have done several self-editing passes on it already.

Um, then they will stop fixing spelling, grammar, punctuation errors, uh, and, and those sorts of thing. Um, and why I'm saying the copy editing and line editing isn't the same thing. If you want to separate these two, then I would say copy editing. We'll only focusing, focusing on grammar while line editing becomes a more like deep dive into meaning the meaning of each sentence and your word choices and stuff like that.

But so, so those who argue that it's two different things, that's what they will tell you, that that's the difference between copy editing and line editing. But to me they're, the dude does this in one one pass. So, and usually when we get editing done on our books as well, our editors will both fix grammar and punctuation errors, but they will also tell or make suggestions to us with comments about, Hey, you know, maybe you reuse this word or you used this word three times on this page, or would it make more sense? You use this word instead?

Because I think it clarifies better what your meaning and that, that sort of thing. Right. So that's to me, you get that in one go, but a some will argue differently, but yeah, so be it. Yeah. And I think most good, uh, editors, at least the ones I use, we'll actually try to do two passes. So they'll do what? They'll do a second one and sometimes they'll do it a computer aided one, which is obviously an option. And then they tried to do a, you know, a red one, a personal one so that they can get it in.

A good editor will, if they see a sentence that does not make sense, they will flag it. They'll say, I'm not sure what you mean here. This doesn't sound clear. A good editor will also say, are you sure you met this character? Cause I know I've done that. Sometimes you have a character in your head and you type the wrong name or your pronoun choice was incorrect. So that's, that's always something that hopefully you have enough to just say that he, his eyes was blue in the previous chapter and now the ground, Oh if you have an editor who's that good, keep them forever, send them candy, whatever it is, they need to keep them happy.

And I would say this one, I call this, I have a two to three level on this one. So I mean I had to fix the problems from the content edit and then I have going through each of the chapters so that the ones I say sounds rough, you know, smoothing them out so that the words sound a little bit better. Then I go through, I do what I think

Autumn (26m 44s): is a good grammar punctuation, like a good line edit, everything should kind of fill up and I often find myself going, Oh wait, did this happen? And you know, checking things. But then my final, final pass when I'm doing my line editing is I actually started at the end of the novel and work to the front. And I do that by paragraph, not by sentence because I'm not that cruel to myself, but I do know some people who do it by sentence. And literally starting with the last page, looking at the last paragraph, I read it and I started going backwards because this is a fantastic way of seeing your punctuation really clearer, seeing your word choice and Oh yes.

By the way. I'm also keeping a list of times when I like see that I have favorite words. I've used way too many times in the novel or things I've consistently misspelled. I'm keeping a side list so that when I'm done I can also do a search find and go and look for any of those other ones I've messed up. Like I said, I am anal with my head. I admit it. That's what an edits I need to be. You have to be very, very focused on the details and and very perfectionist kind of way, you know? Because otherwise they edit this. No good.

Yes, and that's, I mean, and I still pay for an editor on top of doing all this on my own, so this is just, my past doesn't always feel devastated. How many errors they still find in my own rating after I've done all these 10 drafts of passes, but it goes to show, I've done 10 drafts of passes and I'm anal to the core and I'm running Grammarly and I'm running such search and find and replace and I'm still missing things. It's amazing what you miss. You always need to have someone else look over your stuff.

Yeah, that's the thing, right? I mean especially like if we're talking fantasy novels, so we have like a 100,000 words that's like 400 pages and you just get, you get blind to it because once you've been over 10 times, you start to seeing the what your mind wants you to see and not what it actually says on the page. And I think why shifting to another person helping you to take a look that they'll catch the stuff but and when they do you a and you get it back with track changes you will like how could I miss that? And that's to be the beauty of reading it backwards.

As you cannot get caught up in your own storytelling, you have to look at just those words. And some people reading it out loud works well, changing the font or the font size works well. But for me, I just like reading it backwards. It works pretty seamlessly. And my husband, husband and I are both a sound sensitive. So a even we don't watch many videos because we don't like noise and we still are. We have it on mute. A so am not gonna sit there and read 105,000 words out loud, especially backwards kill me.

It's going to take two months. I read much faster. But yeah, so that's the idea is you don't want to be caught up in your own writing because Oh it happens. You start falling in love with the romance scene. Are you the climax getting exciting and you don't pay attention to your word choice again. So it's very important to find a way of breaking that. And I have to say it's really helpful that when you send it to your editor and you correct the changes that they come back with two then if you have time and you're not really so anxious to publish it, letting it sit for two weeks and then reading through the whole thing one last time is, is also amazing.

What you'll find that you want to tweak and what maybe they didn't see to recommend on word choice and how many times do you use the same word? So yeah, there's, Oh, you can keep going on edits at some point you just have to say it's done. It's what I've, I try not to read. I try not to critically read something else I've written and have edited because I know I'll start tweaking things. It can. Yeah,

Jesper (30m 30s): absolutely. So the final States on my ladder is than the proofreading. Yup. Uh, so this is the lightest form of editing and also the least expensive of the mall. Uh, and this is exactly what it sounds like. So this is just the editor will go over the manuscript and fix any spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. And then you might say, but wait a minute, wasn't this what you just explained as being the copy edit and Hey, thank you for paying attention.

That's what that was exactly what I was saying. But where the, where the differences though is that with the copy edit, we also just talked about how the editor that will give you suggestions on the words that you use or the meaning of the sentences and, and do give you some sort of feedback on that sort of thing and where they might suggest you do some changes. Whereas the proofreader will typically not do that. They will just go through the manuscript, they will just fix errors and that's it. A so you're not gonna get any copy, edit type of feedback as well.

So that's the difference between copy editing and proofreading.

Autumn (31m 37s): Yes. It's a much lighter one. You might not get the noticing the pronoun choices or the questions of like, are you sure you meant this character here? Uh, those more personal touches and kind of like, Oh, you've been paying attention to what I've been writing or not. There it is literally like someone going use misspelled this. You missed an in, you should have a period or a semi-colon here. And

Jesper (32m 0s): that's about it. Yeah, exactly. So do you have more on your editing?

Autumn (32m 6s): No, but that's like, like I said, I've, I've pretty much after I've done mine, I've sent it to the editor and when I get it back, I'll do the accept and reject changes, which sometimes I do reject changes and if I can, I try to set it aside and then I do probably something that comes up more as the light proofread, looking for any last changes in last mistakes that maybe the editor or I have missed. And sometimes I have to say if you have some good beta readers or some really trusted friends, it's after done, send it to the editor, maybe I'll send it to them, which will give me maybe another month, uh, before I see what they have to say except, and reject their changes in, have my final run through as well.

So yeah, you're probably a 10 to 15 versions in my camp at this point.

Jesper (32m 57s): Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, but that's how it is, right? I mean I think there is a good point in what you just said around approving and declining changes because just because the edits assessed that they want you to change something doesn't necessarily mean that you have to do it. Um, you can reject changes and just say no. What I wrote was what I meant and that's what I wanted to say and that's okay. But I would just say as well that you're paying a professional person to do this work and they do this work all the time.

So try to, you know, if you are rejecting some changes, I would say be damn sure that this is really what you want to do. I mean, I would say you should probably like, except like 95% of the changes they want to do because they're probably right. Yeah. So it's only like on of the few ones where you 100% certain like, Nope, this is exactly what I want it to say and then stick with it. If that's the case. But a don't be too much like double, you know, or questioning, I should rather say questioning what the editors sending back to you because they know what they're doing.

At least if you've got a good editor. Right. So

Autumn (34m 7s): yes, and I would say yeah and definitely. And there are, if you've done a good job and selected the correct editor, you should have a good trust and he should really at least look at their, what they've suggested. And if you don't understand or you disagree, you should be able to open a dialogue and say, by the way, I was just, I don't agree with this. Or could you explain this a little bit more? But I definitely know like when I was starting out, maybe I had some editors that I thought had come recommended and I know I had one that changed all my goddesses to God, singular plural capital.

And that was a nightmare when I realized that. And I have to say that I never sent her a fantasy one again because it just was like, wow, okay. So from now on, I'm going to check religions and let people know up fronts, um, about the content so that I do not have such weird things happening. And I've had another editor who gave me a fence Hastick of few pages of an example. Edits I loved it, went with him and he ended up the manuscript he gave me back, I think it had, I can't remember how many changes it was, outrageous number of changes and he had gone through and changed all of my action tags and dialogue to dialogue tags.

So it would be like growled, grumbled said instead of picking up a glass or something and I was trying to fix it and I finally just kind of broke down in tears and my husband's like, just tell him you want your money back. There's no way you will ever feel that he didn't, that you didn't miss something that he changed and I had an agree with them. I was devastated. So there are some issues with editors and make sure you do your, like I said, I thought I did due diligence on that one.

I still secretly think he subleased out his editing to someone, a third party because it was such a big change. So I don't want to get people scared, but editing is expensive and there are definitely steps to find a good editor. And one of the best ones is to talk to author friends and say, who do you use and do you like them? Who do you recommend?

Jesper (36m 13s): Yeah, that actually reminds me of what actually what we just said before as well. Because if you go onto the amwritingfantasy YouTube channel, there is actually a video there where I'm talking you through like how do you find an editor? And I'm basically because in my, uh, in in G D day job land, I have hired a lot of contractors over the years and basically you need it. It's sort of the same thing here you are hiring a contractor, so you're buying a service and the editor is selling you a service.

So you need to approach this in the same way as you would if you're hiring a contractor to do something else and you need to vet out who are the good ones. And who are the bad ones. And obviously you want to end up with a good one. So if you will put a link to that video in the show notes so you can go straight from there and check it out if you're interested. But actually we'll talk you through the steps that you need to go through to find a good editor. And I can promise you if you do what I'd say in that video, there is a very, very high likelihood, it's not a guarantee, but there's a very high likelihood that a that you will end up with a good editor.

And editing is not like a protected title. You know, everybody can open a website and call themselves an editor and sell their services. Yes. Yeah. And that's the problem we are facing here. So they can charge you quite a lot of money to do something and then what you're getting back, especially if you're new to writing, you won't be able to sort of see or tell that something is off. So you might take their word for gospel and then they had you down a completely wrong path. So that's the danger. But uh, yeah, check that video out, the link in the show notes if you are interested in that.

Sounds good. Okay. So we were gonna talk about pricing before we wrap up. Yes. I think that's a good point. Let's get to that.

Autumn (37m 59s): Just so people have an idea of expectations because I think some of the problems are a maybe going for a low end one, not going in wanting to save money, which I totally understand. And maybe getting someone who doesn't quite know what they're doing and then you end up paying for something that you end up having to maybe pay again or you lose sales or you get bad reviews. And that's a really high cost of itself. So you should go into this knowing that there is a cost. You're paying for a professional and you want to be paying a professional to do this.

Not am your aunts, cousins, best friend. Absolutely not. No, no. I'm going to be a good professional editor,

Jesper (38m 36s): but no, but these are professional people, right? So, so of course you are put paying for a professional piece of work. Uh, it's this, this is not where you want to skimp on, on money, right? I mean the and the same, we're going to say this again over and over again in the self publishing success costs for later this year. But when I'm talking about covers and that course, I, I keep saying the same thing. You know, this is not where you're going to save your money. No. So I was trying to find some, I, I searched quite a lot on the internet earlier today to see if I can find some industry standard rates for reference points, but I wasn't quite able to.

So what I can do here is at least from my end, I can sort of give you what I believe should be around the rate that you should be paying for the different types of editing a but of course, this is based on my own sort of point of view and experience. So you can also correct me or challenge me autumn if you think that I'm off on some of this, but, uh, but at least this is how I see it. Um, at least it gives you people a bit of a pointer on what they can expect. Absolutely nothing else. And I've definitely, like you said, I've done this in the past for other people.

I've been an editor so

Autumn (39m 48s): I can tell you if I think it's falling in the rates I find or remember as being about the going rate. Um, but yeah, it's been a couple of years now.

Jesper (39m 57s): Okay. So I have three stages here. Like we talked about developmental editing, copy editing and proofreading and a. I've tried to put some pricing together for each of those three stages to see what you can expect and we can, we can just circle back afterwards a bit to the more experienced author and on what, what you need because you might skip some of this stuff, but at least if we assume for now that you're going to go through all three stages of editing here, then you start with the developmental editor we talked about before.

And I would say you can probably expect to pay something like $6 per page. And normally you would say that, uh, there is 250 words on a page, so that if we calculate that, that means that if you have 100,000 word fantasy novel, which is quite common, that gives you 400 pages to edit. So at $6 per page, that's $2,400 for their development.

Autumn (40m 55s): Yeah. And I honestly think that is a pretty good average price, but also possibly on the low end, a really in depth, someone who might work with you to really talk about the character development, character arts. You could be paying for a fantasy novel up to five to 6,000.

Jesper (41m 14s): Yeah, I mean, OK. So, so these are like a great. Yeah, I think we can expect around, but you can go on all of these. I would say you can go out a lot more expensive. I mean the best, the best editors out there, they have so many clients that they can charge a premium, but they also extremely good at what they do. So you get what you pay for here.

Autumn (41m 35s): Definitely. But I would say 24 to me, that's actually not even that the middle, it's kind of a low end average. Three to three to four is probably average to me for something as long as a fantasy. And if you're talking series now, let's just start with book one. Yeah.

Jesper (41m 54s): So as you're going to hear that this is the most expensive type of editing, and unfortunately as we said before, this is what you need when you're first starting out. So that's a bit of a shame. But yeah, that that's it. A it,

Autumn (42m 7s): the improvements you'll see are amazing. So once I can pull all your friends and family and have them for one year, this is your birthday present. Go for it.

Jesper (42m 20s): Yeah. So the next day it's then copy editing and here I would say, then we go down from the $6 per page to probably land $4 per paid at 400 pages. That gives you $1,600 for a copy edit.

Autumn (42m 33s): No, I think that's a very, very fair, very honest average. It could be I think as low as 1200 as high as 24 but that's, yeah, that's a good average. Yeah,

Jesper (42m 45s): and proofreading is after that, then it gets even cheaper. You can probably get that for $3 prepaid. So that's a total of $1,200 for 100,000 fans. A word fantasy she novel, but I would also say it, it depends on what you can find because we are with our proofreaders for example, that we use for our novels, we are paying like $300 for a proofread. So it certainly does not have to cost 1200 at all. But I think if, if we just go like on random checks with Reedsy, for example, if you go on Richie with just like a website that has a lot of editors that you can hire, I think you should expect probably like $1,200 for a a proofread.

But it can be a lot cheaper than that as well. But again, you need to be careful here because especially with proofreading, some people charge a very minimal fee for it, but what you get is also a pretty bad, so you need to be careful.

Autumn (43m 44s): I agree. And yeah, I mean, I've seen very, very cheap and sometimes they're amazing. I, I, I have a few beta readers who refuse to get paid and they're wonderful editors and I love him to death, find them, keep them, love them always. But yeah, then even still going through an editor, I mean, you can get away with three, 600 a 900 somewhere in there. It's definitely the lesser end, but it's also not someone who's going to really, they're going to fix some stuff, but they're not going to make it shine that if you don't know how to make it shine on your own, you might still feel like you're missing something if you just do a proofread.


Jesper (44m 23s): Okay. So you can see that that at least gives you something like to go through all the stages and you are up to like five, $7,000 maybe. Something like that. Yeah. It's not cheap. No. Well, but it's, it's the cost of, of, uh, of putting out a professional piece of work, which, which you have to do. Uh, but on the other hand, I would say don't get like disheartened by the cost of editing because in the grand scheme of things, if you're, if you're looking at all authorship as a business, you know, this is your biggest expense.

And compared to other types of businesses, I mean together with the cover of course, that that will be slightly expensive as well. But compared to other types of business, this is not a lot of money to run a company on, you know, four or five, $6,000. If you tell them what other industries that this is your cost base, they will happily take that, you know, 50 grand just to get started, right? Where we can do it for five. So it's, it's not too bad. But I do expect an understand of course, that for some people it is a lot of money and then you just have to save for it.

But what I don't want to give us the advisers that a have you ever heard the, the, the, the term saying minimal viable product. Have you heard that before? I have heard that before in terms of marketing. So basically the idea is that you, you, you do it as well as you can and then you publish it and then of course you're going to get complaints and then you read the complaints and then you start updating based on that. So, and then once you've sold enough and you have money for it and edit it and you hire an editor and you make them do a proofread for example.

But honestly this is just hurting your brand badly. So I don't do that.

Autumn (46m 11s): Oh yeah. I don't want to say unless you're like doing it under a pen name and you plan on killing off that author pen names so that you don't care about the repetition. That's, yeah. I wouldn't recommend it as the best way of building an author career. You go into it and like we mentioned circling back around as you get better hope maybe you can get out the co, you know, drop the content edit or maybe you can find a beta reader who's going to be your proofreader. And really all you're doing is that middle level, about 1600 or maybe you'll find someone who'll do it for 12 I mean I've been with my current editor for like five or six books and at that point we're pretty much like, Hey, you're going to do this for me.

Hey, yeah, I'll do it for that. Oh Hey, thanks. Cause I'm a repeat customer at this point. You know, he's making money off of me because he knows I'll be back again and again and again. So you know, I'm at a rate that I'm sure he's up to his rates for other people, but I'm still at the low rate from five years ago.

Jesper (47m 8s): Yeah. Well, but I, and I think maybe maybe to finish off, you know, for the more experienced, right. A it probably goes without saying. I mean, if we can use ourselves as an example, right? We do not do developmental editing, we don't pay anybody from it, uh, for, for developmental editing. But of course we do ping pong, ping pong back and forth between ourselves in terms of making sure that there is consistency in the manuscript and and and all the steps of the story makes sense. And the character arcs and all that we do, we do that between us.

So once you've written enough novels, you don't need the development that edit any way, you will know where the problems are and you will know how you probably even to fix them yourself. So, so that part you can skip once you get a bit further ahead. And then what we do, at least on our end is that we, once autumn have done all her editing, which of course we have the benefit of autumn knows what she's doing and that's a bit of it. Um, but once she's done with all her editing, then we send it off to a copy edit.

So the first editor that gets it, we'll then do both the proof reading, but also give us feedback on words and sentences and all the stuff we talked about and does episode. Um, and then we get it back from there. Then autumn will accept and decline that changes. But then we actually send it to a second editor. But this is only a proofread then in the last stage, uh, so that we make sure that we use two different editors on all our books because as we talked about before, you get blind after even editors get blind on the words.

So giving it to another editor at the last States and, and th this last days is not expensive. We probably pay like $300 for that last step. So it's not too bad. No. Um, so by then, autumn have been through a manuscript like 15 times and we've had to edit those going through it. And I have to tell you that there are still errors in it. It's just impossible to avoid it. And we just, I mean, I, I keep a side list.

Autumn (49m 7s): If I hear back from someone who's like, points it out and I don't immediately change everything. As soon as someone tells me about it, I keep a list and I tried to once or twice a year do an update and fix everything at once because otherwise you're, you're getting, you know, you're fixing something twice, one month and once the next month it'll drive you crazy. But yeah, I usually go through these books enough that I have them memorize. People ask me like years later, Oh, I can't believe you remember that seat. It's like, are you kidding? I can recite this in my sleep.

Yes, absolutely. And a and then we move on to the next book and zoom. We forgotten all about it. So that's how life works. And maybe the lights off. Oh no, I still remember it. Well, I think if I had to go back and redo like book one or something, I think I would have to read up on it.

Jesper (49m 54s): I don't remember most of it, but I don't remember the details. Yeah, you're probably right. Yeah. So autumn. If I get some outro music going here, you will have about 10 seconds to tell the listener about next Monday's episode. So up I'm up. Let's race. All right, so next week on episode 61 I have a special guest, Alexa, big Wharf, organizer of the women had publishing summit, and we're going to talk about some issues facing women writers.

Narrator (50m 25s): If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the amwritingfantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jesper on for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep the amwritingfantasy podcast going. Stay safe, safe out there and see you next Monday.

131 episodes