Megan Georgia Hirst my wonderful editor! She helped shape Love & London into what you see on the shelves today and without her expertese and knowledge it wouldn’t have turned out like it has. She graduated with a degree in English from Sheffield Hallam and is currently persuing her masters degree!
You can Find Megan on Facebook
Tell us a little about your editing career/why you started editing.
I was the girl in school whose homework everyone used to copy. I spent years at university with my red pen, annotating my friends’ work and telling them how to make it read better. Given that I’m not a fan of children and the idea of being a teacher makes me want to cry, editing was the natural progression that capitalised on my skill set.
Tell us about the different editing services you offer.
I have a menu of editing services but often find a middle ground with authors e.g. helping with query letters and author biographies at no extra cost, deals on certain manuscript lengths, payment plans etc.
- Beta reading (price dependant on length / contracted future editing services).
- Academic proofreading at £10/1000 words.
- Proofreading at £4/1000 words.
- Copy editing at £5/1000 words.
Before either party agrees to costs / timeframes, I always provide a free 1000 word sample edit of the service requested.
At what stage should an author approach you?
I’ll always recommend an author doing self-edits before seeking an editor. You’re almost guaranteed to cut a few thousand words out which will reduce the editing costs.
I’d also keep in mind that editing can take a long time (depending on who you go to) so ask about their availability / turnaround times. Don’t approach an editor with a 100,000 word manuscript and say you have a week to publish because, while it can be done, you’re likely to pay extra.
What can an author do to make editing easier for you?
There are a lot of things, really.
- Indent the start of each paragraph (with the formatting tool on the task bar, not just the tab button). If you’re working in Word, check the little arrow in the bottom right corner of the ‘Paragraph’ heading.
- Space your chapters out. When I’m scheduling a manuscript, I break each section into manageable bits which I can send back to the author as I work but I can’t do that if your chapter spacing is a single line gap. Also, use the page break option, not just loads of blank lines.
(I feel like I’m ranting but these are things that take up a lot of time).
- Check that your language settings are right e.g. Is your manuscript set to autocorrect to American English or Oxford? This is something that creates so many mistakes.
- When you’re addressing people, be careful with the grammar. If you say “I’m going to see my mum”, you don’t need to capitalise. If you say “Hi, Mum”, you do. The same applies to aunt, uncle, dad, doctor etc.
What makes a good author/editor relationship?
There needs to be an understanding on both parts.
Editors have an error margin! There will be things that fall through the gaps (especially if you only have one round of editing). My known error margin is around 0.01%, meaning that, for every 100 edits I make, there might be 1 error.
As for authors, an editor needs to be respectful of the fact that someone has poured their heart and soul into a piece of writing. If you have a critique, word it in a way that is constructive and fair.
What is your favourite part of editing?
I’m learning the ways of writing from both perspectives. I’m involved in the creative act of writing and I’m invited to share my input so, when it comes time for me to publish my own work, I have knowledge of each stage of writing.
If you want the mushy answer, I’m actually honoured that people trust me with their work. I’m privileged to be a part of their literary journey.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to an author?
Strive for the 5* reviews and acknowledge the 1* feedback. You will get bad reviews and criticism that is sometimes unfounded but take it on board. It is not an attack on you so take it for what it is; a learning experience.