CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests


ALMOST PARADISE through July 29th
THE COUNTDOWN CONSPIRACY through August 19th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Danielle Burby Agent Spotlight Interview on 9/25/17
Molly O'Neal Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/23/17
Quressa Robinson Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/30/17

EDITOR CASSANDRA BROWN GUEST POST AND CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I have freelance editor Cassandra Brown here with a guest post on picking an editor, and she's offering a critique or consultation to one winner.

So here's Cassandra!

How To Establish A Connection With And Trust A Freelance Editor

Many many thanks to Natalie for sharing her blog space for the day!

I have to start out by saying that hiring a freelance editor is NOT required. You don’t have to ever spend a dime on editing if you don’t want to. Critique partners, alpha and beta readers, editing how-to books, and time can all do wonders for a manuscript. 

But if you’re thinking about connecting with an editor, here’s the deal:

Finding an editor starts by looking at yourself and where you are with your own writing.

What type of edit are you looking for? Do you think you’ve got the story basics down but need help deepening the plot? Perhaps a developmental editor is needed. Got the plot perfect but have trouble with those pesky commas? Maybe you only need a proofreader. While some editors wear many hats, they should have a main focus. Consider working with more than one editor on the different types of edits.

What kind of editor are you looking for? Do you need someone that is hands on, back and forth, more of the “teaching” type? Would you prefer a do-it-for-you editor who makes changes and asks questions later? Would you want an editor who will change everything they see, or one who points things out only and lets you make any decisions? Do you need an editor that is challenging or encouraging or a mix of both?

Finding An Editor:

Google “editor” and there are millions of results. Google “YA editor” and there are fewer. Google “YA developmental editor” and there are even fewer. The more specific you can get, the better. But I don’t recommend using Google to find an editor.

Hiring an editor is a business decision. Just like a celebrity surrounds themselves with a team to make them fabulous, your editor should be someone you like and trust to help put your words in the best possible light.

Ask your writing buddies, critique partners, and other authors in your genre, and see who they’ve used and who they recommend. Get a long list of names. Not every editor is going to be a good fit for every author and the more options you have, the better.

Stalk the editors on Twitter. Comb over their websites. Look at portfolios and read testimonials from

past clients. Google them and read interviews and guest posts. Do they seem like someone you would get along with? Some might seem to be a good fit, others you’ll know right away are not for you.

When you’ve narrowed your list down to a few names, talk to them.  Send emails, chat with them on Twitter, anything you can do.  Ask for a sample edit. While it’s difficult to really do any impressive editing in less than ten pages, it can often reveal an editing style and an edit expectation that don’t match.

Perhaps have a shorter section edited by several editors first, say 25-50 pages for a smaller fee before jumping into a full edit. Don’t be afraid to hop from editor to editor to find the right fit.

Don’t get carried away by a resume; focus on actual skills. Verify what you can. Look up their previous books. Read them. You want to find an editor who is the right fit for you, and for your stage of writing. An editor shouldn’t impose, they should help your book be the best form of itself.

Trusting Strangers:

It’s like leaving your dog at a kennel for the first time. I’d leave my MolliePup with a family member sure, but with a STRANGER? What if they decided she needed a haircut and I come home and she’s bald? Would I trust them to know that a double-coated dog shouldn’t get a buzz cut?

If I’ve done my due diligence, know that they know what they’re doing, there’s that moment when I have to trust the professionals and let them get on with it.

That being said, if there’s ever a red flag for you, it’s perfectly okay to walk away. In some cases, run.

The best advice I can give is GET IT IN WRITING. You’re going to be handing out hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars to a stranger on the internet. It’s everything you’ve been told not to do. Get your expectations, the timeline, their scope of services, the price tag, all of it, in writing. A good contract is essential. Look it over, ask questions, and tweak it until you’re happy.

Sure, there are some nefarious swindlers who set up shop with no experience or qualifications hoping to score a quick buck from the self-publishing boom, but they won’t last long. Same goes for those who are well-intentioned with a love of books or a long teaching career who think that is enough to qualify them. Such people rarely possess the specialized skills and industry knowledge to be useful and they’ll find that their clients are few and far between. This is why word of mouth recommendations are so important.

Be wary of referrals from agents or publishers. While these are not always questionable, there may be kickbacks being handed out. Be sure the referring agent has a sales history and they’re not charging fees for this service. Publishers should provide their own editing at no charge. Editing by a “professional service” should never be a requirement before representation or a book deal.

Don’t fall for assurances or high praises. No one can guarantee anything in this business and there are those who prey on the insecurities of writers who think their book has to be print ready to even have a chance. Your manuscript needs to be as perfect as you can make it–finished, polished, and properly presented, but even that doesn’t guarantee success.

Partnering with an editor is a lot like dating. Keep your guard up and your pepper spray handy but don’t forget to have a good time too.

And I repeat: If there are any red flags for you, walk away.

Then What?

Follow through with your side of the editing. Just saying you’ve had a book edited doesn’t give you a free pass in the query stage. It’s not about “buying your way in” or an expensive foot in the door kind of thing.

One of the best parts of being an editor for me is when I hear back from previous clients when they get good news. I love bouncing ideas around with them and finding new ways to write a scene. I often joke that my clients are stuck with me. I’m known for sending nudge emails asking how things are going or what things I can do to help promote a book when it debuts. Hopefully your chosen editor becomes an ally and you’ll have someone on your side for years to come.


Cassandra is a YA freelance editor and loves to play with her dog Mollie. She has an MA in Creative Writing: Novels from Newcastle University and some of her clients have landed agents, book deals, awards, and even places on bestseller lists. She dreams of one day owning a small house near the water with a shelf full of books she has written and has helped others to write. She can be found in Capac, MI, at camarshall.com for writing,editorcassandra.com for editing, and on twitter @OnlyCassandra

Cassandra is generously offering query, synopsis, 10 page manuscript critique, or 30 minute consultation--winner's choice. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through June 18th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. If you do not need a critique or consultation, that's okay. Just let me know in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry.This is an International giveaway.

Here's what's coming up:

On Thursday, I'll be participating in the Debut Author Book Giveaway Hop. I'll have both YA and MG debut books to choose from.

Next Monday I have a guest post by debut author Jen Bishop and a giveaway of her MG contemporary THE DISTANCE HOME.

The Monday after that I have a guest post by debut author Abby Cooper and her agent Rebecca Sherman and a query critique giveaway and giveaway of her MG contemporary STICKS AND STONES.

The following Monday I have an interview with debut author Aditi Khorana and a giveaway of her YA contemporary science fiction A MIRROR IN THE SKY. 

Hope to see you on Thursday!



48 comments:

  1. What a terrific giveaway! Thanks for featuring it.

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  2. Great post :) Expectations must be real.

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  3. Finding an editor through the blogs has been a big help to me. Great giveaway!

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  4. This is a wonderful post! I am adding it to my resource page for the classes I teach on writing. I often get asked how to find a freelance editor, and this post is the best go-to advice I've seen! Thanks!

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  5. There's so much to consider when you link up with an editor. Great to read all of her advice here today.

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  6. This is amazing! Thank you for the chance!
    alexperc92(at)windowslive(dot)com

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  7. Good suggestions on what to look for in hiring an agent. stpaxton1@gmail.com

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  8. I've hired a few editors in the past and Cassandra's comments ring true. It pays to research each potential candidate. I jumped in too quick one time and paid the price. Thanks for your guide to choosing an editor.

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  9. Awesome post and great giveaway! Shared on Facebook and Twitter.

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  10. If I ever hired an editor, I would definitely get referrals.

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  11. Love finding blogs like this with so much incredibly helpful information! Love this article and love Cassandra, hope to do an edit with her one day. Thanks for the opportunity to win such a generous giveaway! Shared on Twitter :)

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  12. Love the honesty: trust a sttanger on the Internet with money, definitely something we're taught to run from!

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  13. Love the honesty: trust a sttanger on the Internet with money, definitely something we're taught to run from!

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  14. Really, great tips! I've only used an editor once, a writing teacher I knew really well, but this is great advice for finding someone new. And thanks for the giveaway!

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  15. Great tips on finding an editor, and like others, I value the honesty.

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  16. Thanks for the great tips. I was really struggling to figure out if I needed an editor. I have more things to think about now

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  17. What wonderful advice! Editors are amazing people and it is important for people to find one who is a good fit for them. Honesty is important for sure! Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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  18. Thank you for the great article. :) I've always wanted to know more about editors. (dreamsong21 (at) gmail (dot) com)

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  19. Great information! And a very generous giveaway. Thank you! valbodden(at)gmail(dot)com.

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  20. Wonderful advice. I know a few editors from online and in person, so I know where I'd look. It still wouldn't be easy making a choice.

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  21. Thanks for sharing this information and the great advice! I think they will come in handy in the future.
    I would like to join the critique giveaway. I've already tweeted and shared about this on twitter and facebook.
    e-mail: kimrainenunez(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  22. Great information and thank you for the critique offer!

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  23. These are excellent tips! Thanks for the interview!

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  24. This was an wonderful post. I don't often see posts about what to look for in an editor, and here tips are so helpful. I just had eye surgery, so I don't think I can benefit yet from her generous giveaway, but best luck to whoever wins it.

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  25. Natalie, thanks so much for featuring Cassandra. I appreciate her advice and insight. I'll pass on the giveaway this time around. Have a great week! :)

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  26. Great post! Thanks for an awesome giveaway! :)

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  27. Helpful post. Thanks for the great giveaway. Best of luck with that house on the beach. Maybe we'll be neighbors. ๐Ÿ˜„

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  28. Thanks for the post! finnthefearless(at)gmail(dot)com

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  29. This is solid advice to finding the right editor. Thanks for sharing it with your followers. I've shared it online.

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  30. Thanks so much for the practical advice and chance to win a giveaway. I retweeted. amysase[at]gmail.com

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  32. Excellent info and I'd love a critique!
    marcy@tidewater.net

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  33. fantastic post - such great advice. And thanks so much for the giveaway - count me in. dancing_dragon747(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  34. Great advice, and thanks also for the giveaway. I'd love a critique!
    klarreic@nasw.org

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  35. Cassandra has a lot of good advice here. There seem to be a ton of people hanging out their shingle and charging money for editing services. I've become quite wary of them, especially those who have no/few books pubbed and their resume lists they've worked for a small e-publisher. The only people I'd consider giving my money to would be those who've worked for the Big 5 or large, reputable publishers. They know the business. Years ago, I won a crit from DearEditor.com/Deborah Halverson, who worked for Harcourt Children's Books. She did a dynamite job editing and taught me a lot. She's the type of person you can trust as an editor.

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  37. Thanks for the info! jwoo848985(at)gmail(dot)com

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  38. Thank you! This is wonderful common sense advice every writer could use. I have shared this with my fellow writers on my FB.

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  39. Interesting to hear about all the different kinds of editors. I'm actually a professional editor (not novels), and never thought of it that way.

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  40. Interesting to hear about all the different kinds of editors. I'm actually a professional editor (not novels), and never thought of it that way.

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  41. Thanks so much! :) Very useful information!

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  42. Great editing advice. I would love a manuscript critique.

    GFC: Sheena-kay Graham
    Email: queendsheena (at) hotmail.com
    Facebook shared link: https://www.facebook.com/queendsheena/posts/10209544677679030?pnref=story

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  43. This is extremely helpful! Thank you for this post. I have always been skeptical of sharing my ms with anyone I don't know though I have with critique partners. I've often considered an editor and this post serves as an excellent guide to selecting. Thank you very much!!

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  44. Thanks for the helpful post, and especially for the breakdown of different kinds of editing, which is information that's not always obvious. And thanks for the generous giveaway!

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  45. (I hope this didn't double post, my browser quit on me) I was really excited to read this. I'm at the point where I'm really wanting to find someone to help me make sure everything is polished, and my query is interesting, and everything else I need to do to take that final step. I'm hoping I win!!

    sarahdlamb(at)gmail.com

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