Question from an Editor: Part 2 — What Should I Look for in an Editor?

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In response to the information I provided in my last post, my reader wrote:

For me, being a first time author, professional editing appears to be the best choice, but as you know the act of locating and working with the right editor is a challenge in its own right. The internet is flooded with editors and editing companies. The experience of the editors is all over the board too, and their editing fees reflect that. So what is a new and gullible author to do?  How much do you pay; what experience should I be looking for?

I have a two-part series on finding and working with a professional editor starting at Finding the Right Editor. I recommend you read that series in addition to this conversation. Although it was written several years ago, the information is still valid.

In finding the right editor, there are several important points to consider:

  • Is the editor knowledgeable about your genre? For example, I don’t edit poetry (except poems that are part of a book, such as Some Monument to Last) or plays. I don’t know enough about poetry or drama to edit those genres.
  • Does the editor have experience in the kind of publishing you have chosen? Although I started out expecting to work in traditional publishing, I became excited about small press and indie publishing and now focus on working with authors who choose to self-publish. Not only do I edit manuscripts, but, with the help of my associate, Jan McClintock, I can guide an author through the entire process from manuscript draft to book for sale.
  • Will he or she do a sample edit, and do you like the result? Editors vary greatly, and just because someone comes highly recommended doesn’t mean they are right for you and your manuscript. See some of their work and make sure you agree their suggestions overall make your book better. You won’t agree with every single suggestion from any editor, but you should agree with most. You should ensure that the editor doesn’t change your author’s voice. I tell my clients when I finish their work should sound exactly like them—only better.
  • How comfortable are you with the editor and vice versa? You will be working very closely together, and you want it to be a pleasant experience.
  • How passionate is the editor about your work? No matter how technically competent an editor is, they should also be excited about your book.

Now that you know what you look, the next installment in this series will cover how to find the right editor for you.





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