• Bella Dean Joyner

Authors Group and Editors, Where Do I Start?

This past week has opened up new avenues for me as a reader and a writer, how I wanted the two of those to intermingle into a career that would leave me fulfilled and help others in the industry.

Let me first say that finding an editor through Reedsy does not pan out well if you are an author just starting to build your novel inventory and don't have a set time frame that it takes you to complete a manuscript. My first novel took me approximately 5 years start to finish. My second novel is only taking me about a month and a half. However, even with giving the editors almost two months advance notice, none of the three that I chose were able to give me a quote because they would have been unable to complete my deadline.

The amount of pre-planning in this process is paramount. As a writer, you have to contact an editor for a book you haven't finished yet and get a quote on an assumption of a word count. It seems ridiculous, but it's the nature of the beast. Luckily for me, I was able to find an editor who was willing to read The Still for me and give me some pointers on anything that might need to be polished. I also was able to find a copy-editor who will go over my second novel with a 5-7 day turn around time. If you are confident in your writing abilities and an editor that charges $1500+ is out of your price range, I highly suggest looking for a copy-editor. They give your novel a bit more coverage than a proofreader will for a fraction of the price that a content editor will.

But this search for an editor has inspired me and altered my life in other ways that I also wanted to share with all of you.

As many of you know, I am currently a double major in forensic psychology and creative writing. I had all the plans in the world to make psychology my focus as I built my writing career. With absolutely no idea how I was going to strike a balance, I felt fully capable having time for both worlds, styles, parts of me. However, a question came to mind when I was looking for an editor. Why can't I just take some classes and learn how to edit myself? Seemed a simple enough question. But then as I paired that question with current book reviews I'm doing for other indie authors, the things I'm noticing throughout their novels, I asked myself why I wasn't looking at editing as a career to partner with my own novel writing. It makes more sense, right? The requirements for editing are simple. Be able to read and write. The author preferences for an editor are a little more complicated - degrees, certifications, and experience. I'm already currently working on the creative writing degree. Check. The book reviews I'm doing now and my own writing will amount to some experience, but it won't be hard for me to find a few indie authors who cannot afford an editor who will be willing to provide me testimonials if I copy edit their works for free. Check. I've started to look for certification courses and found a 10 week course plus a certification test that starts in August that I will need to attend on top of my current college course load. Thankfully it starts after my second novel is set to be launched so that I have room to adjust my publishing schedule accordingly. After I have obtained that certification, I intend on taking another class on how to market within the editing community. Before the new year, I'll be a certified copy-editor. If all goes well and I enjoy it, I'll be pursuing my masters in creative writing instead of forensic psychology and then my doctorate in creative writing or English. My ultimate goal would be to have an established career as an editor/copy editor and teach creative writing at the college level, all while pursuing my own writing career.

I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner! I'm still going to maintain my forensic psychology double major right now. What horror/thriller writer wouldn't benefit from multiple classes on serial killers? But also, what if I absolutely hate copy-editing others' work? I need to make sure I have the ability to fall back into psychology if I want to or need to.

What are your dreams? Even if you aren't a writer, what inspires you? What are your aspirations? I'd love to know! As always, thank you for taking this journey with me!

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