Now, I know traditional publisher/writer types will tell you to never, ever hire your own editor. The publishing company will have it done for you if they like the book. As we've proven in the last column, editing is expensive.
I understand why this advice is given. There are lots of editing scams out there, and even for people who aren't scammers, they might just not know what the book world really wants. (Quick example: Does this editor usually work with technical manuals? He might not really know what to do with a novel in that case.) If you wait for the publisher to provide the editor, then the publisher knows the output will be the sort of thing they can sell.
At the same time, every third person and his mom are now writing books. Which means you've got a whole lot of competition to see who is going to get an Agent, and then the Agent competes against all the books other Agents are shopping around.
I saw the statistic that the average Agent would get close to 10,000 queries a year, and the average Agent would pick up four or five new clients. I don't know if that number is true or not, but I do know that if I've got to deal with that sort of competition, I will make sure my book is as good as it can possibly be, so I'll be hiring an editor.
The other reason for getting professionally edited is this: I'm still not sure if I'll go the agent/traditional publisher route. If I go the self publish route I have to hire someone to edit this thing because I do not want to be another of the self published authors out there who produces a work that doesn't look like it was spell checked, let alone ever had another set of eyes go over it.
So, the lovely Thomas Hill of Launchpad Press will be retained for the job.
Here's how the deal works: I had him edit a sample of my work and send me a price quote. That quote came in at .01 cent a word, and he'd be done in a month. The sample he sent back to me looked good. The turn around time was faster than anyone else who bid. We corresponded by email, and he seems very pleasant and professional. I Googled him and didn't find any complaints or scam reports on him. The terms are professional as well, half at the beginning of the project, half at the half way point. The contract he sent is simple to read but covers everything. No wading through pages of dense legaleese and wondering after you signed if you just gave away the rights to the family farm. Finally the invoice is through Paypal, which is nice because both Paypal and the credit card I'm using to pay for this have buyer protection on them.
So, by Monday Mr. Hill will have Sylvianna in hand, and the editing will begin. I'll continue to post how the editing experience goes.