After you’ve worked with beta readers, self-edited, and done the best you can with your manuscript, it’s time to get a professional to help you. Editing is a tough, undesirable process, but one we must all go through if we want our books to be the best they can be. Choosing a good editor can mean the difference between your book getting five star reviews or one star reviews. Let’s jump right in!
Where Do I Start?
A good place to start is asking around. If you have author friends or belong to any type of writer’s group, why not ask them about editors they’ve worked with? If you don’t know any other authors, or nobody has had any good recommendations, your next step is to ask Google. Search for editors, and check a bunch out.
What to Look For
The first thing I looked at is whether the editor accepts books of my genre and age-range. Many editors only accept specific genres, or won’t work on manuscripts with a certain type of content (e.g.: some may not work on books with graphic violence scenes). There’s no point in going any further if they won’t take my book anyway.
Once I find some editors that take my genre, things still aren’t narrowed down much. The next thing I do, the most crucial thing you should do when picking an editor, is look at the testimonials. How were people satisfied with the editor’s work? Was the editor thorough? Were they good to work with? Beyond that, make sure you look at the books their clients have published. How are the ratings? Do they have poor reviews? You won’t want to hire an editor if all of the books they have done are unsuccessful. Of course, any book or editor will always have a couple one-off bad reviews, but if the average review is poor, you’ll probably want to find somebody else.
Next, I look at their rates. Rates should be reasonable for both parties. They shouldn’t be charging an outrageous amount for edits, but if they are offering it for dirt cheap, that’s also not a good sign. Everybody wants a good deal, but you have to realize that there’s a reason editors tend to be expensive. They are experienced, professional, and do extremely detailed and thorough work on your book. If an editor is charging only a couple hundred dollars, that’s really suspicious to me. People don’t put their rates that low for no reason. That tells me that they are probably inexperienced or unqualified–none of which are good for a book. You need to research the average editing rates for the type of edit you need, the genre, and word-count of your manuscript.
Once you’ve narrowed it down quite a bit, see if you can find excerpts of the editor’s work. Most should have them, and it might be a bit of bad sign if they don’t. Look for spelling and grammar mistakes (especially for copy/line editors) and just see if you feel they are overall well-written. This will probably help you narrow it down almost, if not, completely.
Once you’ve decided on the editor you like best, send them a message. Ask and clarify the services they would be providing, how much you would be paying, etc.. Ask them any questions you have. Some editors may even agree to do a sample edit for you, so you can see if you like how they work. Talking to them is also a good opportunity to see if you have a good feeling about working with them. Are they polite? Professional? Do they seem nice? You’re trusting them with your book, you’re taking important advice and criticism from them, so you should probably like them.
In short, you want to make sure your editor is a qualified professional, as well as a good person to work closely with.
Did this help you look for an editor? Is there anything else you did when looking for an editor? Let me know in the comments!
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With all of this in mind, go out and write your masterpiece!