Finding an editor... using Reedsy

Choosing your editor is possibly one of the most important decisions you'll make if you're self-publishing, I reckon. It's a close call between the editor and the cover designer. Both roles are there to make your book stand out from the crowd and shine. They are the final polish. An unedited (or badly edited) book can be the difference between me rating a book as 2* in a review or 5* and I'm sure I'm not alone in that.

I've had two amazing editors so far, but both of them preferred to edit crime and what I need now is an editor who likes fantasy, so, I'm in the process of finding a new editor for the Trilogy. It's daunting! There are a gazillion editors out there. Even a quick look at Joanna Penn's list of approved editors is enough to make your heart sink into your boots and never reappear, because there are just so many. Where do you even start?

Well, where I've started, is to look on Reedsy. Why? Because it was less daunting, I could easily select what I was looking for to draw up a shortlist and I could send the same brief to five editors.

There are hundreds of editors on Reedsy (as well as cover designers and website designers and so on), located all over the world. The process of shortlisting potential editors is very easy.

Once you've set up an account with Reedsy (name, email address), you can then see this side panel.

If you select Marketplace it takes you to this selection panel:

Here, you can select what it is you're looking for. I was looking for a copy-editor, for fiction, genres fantasy and urban fantasy, language English UK:

This brings up a list of those editors who included these areas in their profile. A brief overview is given, but you can also read their full profile, which gives information on their experience, their areas of expertise, examples of books they've worked on, and how previous customers had rated them. From there, you can decide on a shortlist of 5 to send out a brief to.

Creating a curated list (from which to choose the 5) is easy, if you prefer to have a longer list of editors that isn't all the editors that match the filters you've set. For example, I further refined the list of editors that matched the filters, to focusing on UK based ones only. To do this, click on the star next to an editor's name and then choose Add a new list name. (I set myself up a shortlist called 'potential editors' which you can see in the screenshot below.) To add an editor to a list is easy - just click on the star and choose the list. Selecting an editor to be sent the brief is done by clicking on select.

Creating a brief is very straightforward. Once you've chosen your editors, you fill in a pro-forma with the title of the work, the length of it, and the genre (selected from drop-down boxes). There is a space to give details of yourself and the project and outline what you are looking for. There are also options to give the book's target audience, and more details about the book, and you could put a sample of the work up (up to 3000 words).

Once you're happy with the brief, click on send and it will be sent out to your selected editors. Then you just wait for the offers to come in.

Once the editors get back to you with an offer, the information is held in requests. I won't put a screenshot up as it's not fair on the editors to share that information, but in a single screen, you can see if they've opened the brief and if they've made an offer/quote (and what it is). They can put more information in and give an indication of when they would be able to do the work, which you can access by viewing the quote.

Once all the quotes are in, you can select which one you want (if any). You can also contact the editors to discuss the project further, and they can contact you (all via Reedsy - you never see their email address and they don't see yours). At time of writing, I'm still waiting on a couple of editors getting back to me, so I haven't got to that bit yet! I'll let you know how it goes, once I have.

Update: The process of choosing the quote was very straightforward. I actually sent a message to the unsuccessful editors first, then declined their quote - at which point there was a drop-down choice of reasons for giving feedback to them, plus space for a more personal message. When I accepted the offer I was going for, I was asked to confirm my decision, and automatically decline any outstanding offers. I then had to put in payment details (credit card - payments are handled by Stripe) and the payment schedule was outlined. I've since been contacting my chosen editor to discuss the project in more detail. It has all been very straightforward.

I'm sure there are a gazillion editors out there who are not on Reedsy who will be just as good (or better) than whoever I go with, and I have to say that the service isn't free - Reedsy add 10% on to the quote on both the author side and the editor side (so they get 20% commission). But, there's the security of there being a dispute resolution service, protection over the money side and also the convenience of it all. Additionally, all reviews from customers go up, not just ones selected by the editor, so you can see how people have rated the editor

Is it worth the 10% fee? Time will tell, but even to go through all of Joanna Penn's list, looking at each of their websites, and contacting those I liked the sound of would have taken me days. I'm hoping that it all works out. In which case, yes, the 10% isn't sticking in my craw!