Being a high school English teacher, I have always been a stickler for editing. The more mistakes in the paper, the more points I’ll be taking off. And, it’s not enough for my them to write a ten-page paper at the end of the year, but I expect them to revise and edit their paper.

Having such high expectations for my students only challenged me to hold myself to an even higher standard. The first step in revising proved to be more difficult than I could imagine, especially since I was dealing with a ten-page paper time fifteen.  I really got stuck in a rut scrolling through my manuscript on my laptop, and found myself making excuses to avoid the revisions.

Then a great friend of mine, Morgan Wylie, suggested that I print out a few chapters of my book at a time, and do the revisions by hand. Now, I know this may seem like a great way to consume more of your precious time, but for a teacher that grades papers by hand it just felt right. I made the revisions five chapters at a time, then went back into my document to make the changes. After completing all of the revisions, I began my search for an editor.

Before contacting any editors, I emailed a few authors I hold in high regard and asked who they used to edit their novels. The idea of hiring someone based on the positive work they’ve done with a respected author was my first goal.  My second goal was to figure out if the editors referred to me would be a good match for working with my story.  A quick tip, you can learn a lot about an editor and what genre of stories they like to work with on their website.

Once I narrowed my search down to two professional, interested editors I asked for them to do a sample edit of my first chapter. (By interested, I’m referring to the fact that the editors liked a summary I sent to them and both looked forward to reading more.) When I got both sets of edits back I read over them and there was one that definitely stood out to me. In my case, there wasn’t an editor that was better qualified, but it came down to how well they worked with my manuscript. I would like to clarify that the best editors are not always the most expensive either.

Jessie Sanders not only kicked my butt by getting me to evaluate at my style of writing, but she also challenged me be a better writer and trust my readers more. Jessie also asked a lot of questions. All of these mad editing skillz combined filled my story out, and gave it layers that were missing initially… Not to mention, she also corrected all of my mistakes!

I began the editing process feeling intimidated and scared of the unknown. The idea of spending hundreds of dollars and trusting a stranger with my novel seemed unfathomable. With research and faith my experience worked out for the good, and hopefully it will be one more step forward on the path to publication.

*If you have questions or thoughts about the revising/editing process please feel free to share them below!