There’s only so long, isn’t there? There’s only so long writers can tell ourselves that it’s just an unlucky streak, or that our preferred genre just isn’t popular right now. When that moment comes… when ‘so long’ becomes ‘too long’… it’s time to just do it. Just pack up the draft that came screaming out of you like offspring, work out the Velcro on your wallet, and hire yourself an editor. Someone to help seal up your plot and tone down your hyperbole.
Step One: Decide who will be encouraging
Step Two: Decide who will be honest
To some extent, this is a contradiction of step one, and it must be. Editors, like schools, probably need to balance keeping their clients happy with evaluating honestly. Biting that proverbial hand might not seem to serve their interests, but it is an essential part of the service… otherwise, why even bother seeking advice?
Step Four: Decide who is best for your genre
Again, some legwork is necessary here. Not all editors write fiction or memoirs themselves, so if you are writing a Science Fiction novel or a Romance, then it’s too easy to assume that a good editor might be equally qualified for anything. It would be nice to know an editor well enough to determine their reading preferences, but that’s a bit hard to achieve. This was the one area where I wasn’t comfortable before I made my choice and, even though it worked out, I would have preferred to know how much experience my editor had with my particular genre.