Editing Your Ghostwritten eBook: How to Find a Good Editor
You hired a writer to ghostwrite your eBook, so what’s next? Do you upload it on Kindle, hoping that it will be perfect or do you hire an editor to ensure it’s perfect?
Getting dinged for poor grammar and punctuation can lead to no sales and a ruined reputation. Your name is on the book as the author, and if you’ve published multiple books, they will sit collecting virtual dust.
No one is going to invest in a book that is riddled with errors. That’s why finding the right editor is equally as important as finding the right ghostwriter.
There’s an old saying that writers write and editors edit. In other words, you can’t have one without the other. They go hand in hand. A writer concentrates on content, and the editor focuses on grammar and punctuation.
It’s important that when you have an eBook (or any book) ghostwritten that you also invest in a good editor to polish your book and save you from the dreaded one- and-two-star ratings.
What Do Editors Do During the Ghostwriting Process?
When your manuscript is finished, your next step should be to forward it to an editor. The editor will go over the ghostwriter’s work line by line to ensure there are no errors.
Here are the main tasks of an editor:
Suggest or Rewrite Portions of the Content
The first thing the editor will do is read the content. Before making a mark on the document, the editor will ensure the book flows well and contains all the content that the client requested.
It will be up to you to decide if you want to work with the editor directly or have the editor work with the ghostwriter. Some people don’t want the editor to know their work was ghostwritten, so they will work directly with the editor. Some will work with the editor and relay the editorial comments to the ghostwriter.
The editor will make the necessary changes and rewrites for you to approve. If there is missing content, the editor will ask how to proceed. You might want to return the work to the ghostwriter to fix, or you can ask the editor to do it.
Comb Through Grammatical and Punctuation Errors
Once all the major revisions are made, it is now time to use a fine-toothed comb to look for grammatical and punctuation errors in each sentence. The common issues seen by editors are generally missing or misplaced commas, tense agreement, and subject-verb agreement.
The editor will correct paragraphs and rewrite run-on sentences. They will ensure dialogue is correct, and that spacing is appropriate.
The editor will watch for redundancies, plot holes, and overarching content.
It is an editor’s job to identify and correct everything mentioned above and more.
Fix Sentence Structures
Ghostwriters show different levels of commitment to their projects and writing abilities. Many will double- or triple-check the entire document to make sure that everything is readable and understandable. Unfortunately, there are a few who think that sending a draft is acceptable. For the latter reason, the sentence structures are usually askew, considering they have written words without looking back to see if it’s right.
You may also have used a ghostwriter whose first language isn’t English. That can result in some choppy sentences with missing articles such as the word “the.” If English is the second language of the ghostwriter, then you definitely don’t want to skimp on having an editor review your eBook.
The editor will fix any sentences that are formed incorrectly. That can include sentences that are written in the passive voice, sentences that have a subject and verb disagreement, and ensuring that adverbs and adjectives are used properly.
Arrange the Flow of Content
When you ask a ghostwriter to create a book with more than 15,000 words, it is ideal if he or she can do it with the content flowing seamlessly.
All books should have an introduction, meaning the subject(s) should be introduced; the body where the details are laid out; and the conclusion.
The editor will make certain that content is presented in a manner so that it flows smoothly with no clunkiness. Any break in flow will cause the reader to pause. You don’t want that to happen.
When a book doesn’t flow properly, it puts a wall, so to speak, between the content and the reader.
If the book jumps from one topic to another and back again, the reader will become confused or need to refer back to a previous section.
In that case, an editor can scrutinize the flow of ideas to ensure that it won’t confuse the readers.
Check for Plagiarism
The downfall of every literary piece seems to come when you publish something, and then another person realizes that it’s plagiarized. Plagiarism is not simply copying someone else’s work word for word; it’s also when words are changed just enough to give the appearance of new content. This is called spinning.
Plagiarism checking programs will pick up on spun sentences. If your ghostwriter was not using their own words and was depending on copying, pasting and spinning, then you could find yourself in hot water. That’s why it’s crucial that you hire an editor with the capability to run a plagiarism check. Many editors will use two programs to ensure what one doesn’t catch, the other will.
Not all plagiarism programs are equal, and those used by schools and universities are much more accurate than those offered online to the general public.
When hiring an editor, you’ll want to ask if they will check your content for plagiarism and what program they use. Sometimes, it’s possible to run a sentence or two through Google search to check for plagiarism; however, that can be time-consuming.
How Can You Find an Excellent Editor?
Thus far, you’ve learned the reasons why you need a good editor to go through your manuscript before it’s published. The remaining question is, “Where do I find one?”
The best editors are those who have learned their skills by taking college classes and becoming certified. A certified editor will cost you more, but they are highly trained and have a high level of accuracy. A certified editor will edit your book to publishing industry standards.
English or Linguistics Teachers
If you can’t find a certified editor, the next best thing is to hire an English or Linguistics teacher. You can contact your local schools or colleges and find someone willing to edit for you. You can also check with your local bookstores to see if they can recommend an editor.
Test Potential Editor’s Skills
If you’re having trouble finding a certified editor or a teacher, you can test the skills of an editor before hiring them. You can find tests online. The problem is that you might not know their skill level if you aren’t sure.
Never ask an editor to provide a sample of previous work. Editors keep their clients’ work under strict confidentiality to avoid any plagiarism or idea theft.
Think of how you’d feel if an editor shared your work with someone, and you found it had been pirated by a dishonest person.
A good rule is, don’t ask. You’ll get a “no” from the editor, and they may be skeptical to work with you. If an editor is willing to share the work of others with you, steer clear. That is not the kind of editor you want to work with.
Ask For Friends’ Recommendations
If you have any friends who’ve written a book, ask for a recommendation. Word of mouth is always a good way to find a good editor, and you might be able to work with someone local. That’s a big plus.
In The End
Having your ghostwritten book edited by a professional is essential for several reasons. First, if you have no experience with grammatical or punctuation errors, you need to look for someone who does. This person can work as your second pair of eyes and make sure that your book is flawless. That way, your readers will not call you out in the future for publishing a poorly written book.
Second, you want content to be seamless. You don’t want your readers head-hopping because you failed to have an editor polish your book. You want your content to be easily digested by the reader without the need to scroll back and forth between pages.
Lastly, you want your book to be as professional as possible. You are presenting yourself as a professional, or expert, and you need to ensure that you sound as such. You don’t want to leave your readers thinking that you know nothing about the subject, or worse, figuring out that your book was ghostwritten. Yes, that can and has happened.
If you have an eBook idea in mind, don’t hesitate to hire a ghostwriter AND an editor through The Urban Writers now!