Last week I decided it was finally time to move forward. I had been over and over my book a lot and I knew I just had to rip the band aid off and do it. I knew everything wasn’t perfect and I could have probably gone over it twenty more times but I decided not to.
I placed an ad for an editor on Upwork.com one night after the kids were in bed and in the first hour, I received 5 applicants. I thought that was a lot and was so excited to read their profiles. Within the next day or two, I had 32 applicants who wanted to edit my novel. Feeling completely overwhelmed on which one was the right one for me, I started with the pricing.
When you post an ad, you can post the amount of money you would like to pay for the services needed. I removed a few whose initial bids were well out of my price range. Not that their services weren’t worth the money, but it was not a price I could pay right now. Most of the applicants were bidding the exact cost of my request which made it hard to choose.
I then moved on to read their proposal written to me about why they wanted to work for me and some included samples of previous things they had edited. Most were written to me but some were just a generic post that they must copy and paste on everything they apply for. Those didn’t seem very personal to me and I really liked the ones who took the three minutes it probably took to address me as a specific client.
Next I was able to view their previous jobs, feedback from other people who had hired them, and scores of spelling and grammar tests they took through the website. After looking at all of these parts, I definitely learned A LOT!!
Here are a few things that turned me off from hiring the ones I chose to pass on. Hopefully this will help you if you ever post a job and will help you by pointing out several things to look for.
- A professional photo: Some photos were a really disturbing selfie that I found to be very unprofessional. Judging a book by its cover, I know, but for what I am paying, I would like to work with a person who at least appears to be taking this job seriously.
- Good grammar in their writing: I read one applicants bio and he used no spaces after commas and his grammar was terrible. If it is not written correctly on their end, I have a hard time trusting that they will edit my work well.
- Good test scores: A few of the applicants scored very low on their spelling tests or English grammar tests. Both I feel are very important skills at least in this job I was asking for. Most were in the top 10% or so but several scored below average.
- Read their entire query: One lady looked like a good fit at the beginning but as I read further, she told me that she was by no means an editor but loved to read books. Though I’m sure she could offer great feedback, I was looking for someone with editing experience.
- Ask for a sample of their work: I looked at many samples and they varied greatly! One had added one comma near the top of the page and removed a comma near the bottom. Another had a full word by word edit, rearranging words, punctuations, spelling, through the entire article. Depending on what you are looking for, be sure to look into this. The one I hired had extremely thorough editing.
These are just a couple of the things that really helped me decide on who was right for me. I ended up narrowing it down to two people in the end. One was $100 over my bid, one was $50 under. Feeling both prices were still in my comfort zone, it came down to their experience and editing samples. I felt like one was more of what I was looking for and she had a very reasonable turnaround time so I wrote up the contract and she approved!!
She is scheduled to have the project completed in 3 weeks so I am eagerly sitting back waiting for what comes back. This is a huge part of the writing process and to have it started is very exciting for me!! Once this step is complete, the rest isn’t as stressful and I’m looking forward to seeing it through to the end!
For the next 3 weeks, my plan is to move forward on my outline for book 2. So far I have the characters and a couple ideas. Looking forward to getting some words on the page and see the next installment come to life!