So I’ve typed “The End,” is my manuscript (MS) ready to send to an editor?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: No. Your first or early draft isn’t ready for editing. The basic idea is that the better shape your MS is in when you send it to your editor, the better the finished product will be. A messy MS is hard to navigate. Your editor will spend precious time fixing basic spelling and grammar mistakes that should have been fixed in self-editing and revision. The cleaner the MS, the better the work your editor can do for you, and the better your book will be. If you send your editor a rock, you’ll get back a polished rock. If you send a raw diamond, you’ll get a shiny diamond back.

Can I just publish my book after self-editing?

You can, but it’s not advisable. You’re too close to your own project to be able to pick out all the things that need to be fixed. Your brain knows how that sentence is supposed to sound, so it doesn’t read as awkward to you, but it might to a reader. Your brain knows how the plot is supposed to go, so it fills in the blank where there’s a plot hole. An editor is a skilled professional with a completely fresh set of eyes. They’ll dig deep into your MS to help you turn it into the best possible book.

Editing can be expensive, but it’s an investment in your product. If you read negative reviews, two of the most common comments pertain to poor spelling and grammar and plot holes. These reviews can prevent others from even checking out your book. It doesn’t matter how good your idea is if the final product has a lot of polish errors. A poorly edited book can slow your progress on the road to success.

How do you know if an editor is right for you?

Most editors will offer a sample edit for new clients. This allows the editor and the client to get to know each other to see if they want to work together. It’s a two-way street. You want your editor to want to work with your writing. Editors want to enjoy their work. They take pride in the quality of product they help their clients create. Seeing your writing helps them determine if they can help you achieve your goals.

What if the editor says I’m not ready for editing based on the sample edit?

This is tough to hear for any writer. However, it’s better to hear that you need to do more self-editing and revision than for someone to take your money and give you an inferior edit.

Can I just use Grammarly or another writing app?

Gramarly and ProWritingAid and other writing aids are good assistants, but they miss a lot of things. We use ProWritingAid as an assist for proofreading. It still misses a lot of commas, homophones, and missing words.

Which style manual do you use?

At Cissell Ink, we use the Chicago Manual of Style as our house style manual. If you require a different style guide, please let us know and we’ll edit to that manual.

I have a tight deadline, can you do a rush job?

Yes, if we can fit it within our schedule, we can accommodate a quick turn around at an additional rush job rate. Please contact us for rates.

I use a lot of unique names/magics/technologies, how do I help my editor make sure they’re consistent?

We specialize in the various forms of speculative fiction. The best way to ensure your editor knows how your world works is to create a style sheet with spellings and definitions/explanations of how various magics or technologies work. This will allow your editor to make sure your spellings are consistent and correct and that your world building stays consistent and understandable to the reader. This also is a great tool for you to create to keep your story consistent if you’re planning a series.

Can you fact check?

Yes. We have a broad base of knowledge from taking too many credits in college and being general nerds who like to research things. We’re good at finding the right answers to ensure your MS not only shines, but is factually correct where it needs to be.

Where and how do I credit my editor and proofreader?

Credits go on the copyright page and should read “Editing (and/or Proofreading) by Cissell Ink.” If you want, you can include your editor’s name thus “Editing by Christopher Barnes of Cissell Ink.”

NOTE: Please do not credit the name of your editor in the “editor” slot on your Amazon/KDP book listing. This spot is for the editor of anthologies and can interfere with your editor’s search results for their own books.