Creating a Believable Relationship
Relationships can make or break a story, and unless there's only one character in your book, relationships are imminent. If readers can't or don't understand the relationship, it could completely change the predicted outcome of the story or have readers rooting for the wrong character. It's either something that can be easily decided at the beginning of the story, or maybe you'd prefer to let them set their own relationship as the plot progresses. Either way, it's important to take these points into consideration:
The Dangers of Burnout
Welcome to Daylight Saving Time, the best time of the year, in my opinion! The days are longer, the weather's starting to warm up, and the bushes in my yard are finally getting some green on them!
With all the nice weather, we often begin to feel more motivated to work, whether it's outside or cleaning the house or getting started on all those projects we've been putting off all winter. There's a renewed sense of "I can do this!" But sometimes, it can be dangerous.
We're all familiar with taking on too much, especially as editors. Especially when we're trying to grow our business and get as many clients as possible. It's a great prospect, believe me, and it can be effective if you play your cards right and have all the time in the world. However, if you're not used to doing that, it can be extremely detrimental to your mental health as well as your client base.
When you're working for someone else and trying to prove yourself, it's so important to take care of yourself too and not put too much on your plate. While a client might think it's great that you always have availability, your quality of work will go down if you're trying to do too much at once. It's better to focus all your attention on one story than divide it up. This will create a higher probability of you not catching mistakes or not explaining yourself properly because you have so many different things to complete before the deadline. To combat that, extending your deadline too much might cause you to lose a client that can't wait that long, or that's on their own deadline.
I tried this and learned my limit very quickly. I can work on two projects at a time, with maybe something very quick while I'm working on those, but nothing more than that or I can't keep up. The stories blend together, I can't keep characters straight, and it's hard to bounce back and forth between stories and authors and styles; it just gets tiring.
Potential clients are going to want to go for quality, not necessarily turnaround time. Good clients, that will become repeat clients, will wait on your schedule because they want you to work on their books, which is a much better feeling than stressing yourself out and exhausting yourself by trying to do too much. It'll be worth it in the end, and when it's over, you'll still enjoy editing instead of seeing it as a chore.
Where Do I Start?
This is often the most difficult part of any endeavor - getting started. There are so many resources out there for writing and editing, and it can sometimes be a little overwhelming if you're just starting out. I know it was for me! But I've been doing this for years now, and while I'm not where I'd like to be yet in terms of business, it's a lot better than it was when I started, so for that, I'm grateful. So this post is for my fellow editors who are looking to start a business themselves!
The first thing you need to do is brand yourself. Find your niche. And even if you don't think there's enough work. Believe me, there is. Plenty of people are writing and looking to publish, whether self or traditional, so there's not going to be a shortage of work, even with all the editors out there in the world! And if you ever feel like they're doing better than you (because there will be many that are doing better than you), they started out in the same place you are at one point.
Find what makes you the right person to edit. What do you love reading? That's what you're going to focus on editing. I've taken a few jobs here and there in genres that I don't necessarily read on a daily basis, which is fine, because it broadens your resume, but for the most part, I feel the most comfortable working on YA Fiction, and I have the most fun working on it! Showcase your skills and your personality. For me, I love making connections with people and being more than just their editor!
Set your prices. I started out way lower than I'm charging currently in order to get experience under my belt. This doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but I had steady income on top of editing, so anything I made from editing was just supplemental. Look around at other editors' prices and see what they're charging! You don't want to sell yourself short, but if you have no experience, you might find that clients don't want to pay your prices because they don't know how you work. Which comes to my next point!
Offer sample edits. This will also give you a good feel of the work you'll be receiving and it's an opportunity for a potential client to see how you work. Sometimes a client won't like your editing style after receiving their sample edit back and choose not to work with you. That's okay! I'd rather know up front than send them back a full manuscript of changes they won't like. Remember - it's their story. Not yours. If I was the one sending to an editor and didn't like their style, I'd definitely say so up front!
Make a website! Start out with a free one - there are plenty of sites that are easy to construct for beginners and offer easy site-building tools. This is a simple way to have everything you offer and your prices listed in one space, and it can show off who you are as an editor! Once you get enough business or feel comfortable, you can always purchase your domain so it won't have the host tag in it.
Promote yourself! This is a hard one, but most of your clients will come from social media. I've been doing this for six years and I've just now created a social media schedule and what to post every week/day/month so I stay relevant on feeds. Twitter is my main network, but I also post on Instagram and Facebook regularly - you never know who's going to see it!
And that's really it! You don't have to waste money on business cards or headshots or anything fancy when you're just starting out - that can come later IF you need it. Just put your name out there and start showcasing what you can do! You'd be surprised how much business will come to you by just advertising and connecting with people. Join editors' groups and writers' groups and make friends with people! There are postings all the time about editors who have a client they can't take on for whatever reason, asking for people to help. Maybe that's you!
All in all, make sure you have fun. Don't make it a chore. It will seem like it sometimes, but overall, if it's something you love to do and you're passionate about, let that show!
I'm an editor, yes, but I'm also on a writing journey of my own. In writing about my own struggles, maybe it'll help you out, too.