Thursday, September 1, 2016

How do you find a good editor? What kind of editing do you need?

Last Thursday we considered publishing options. This week I’ve spent lots of time online looking at options for my next memoir. How about you?

Before you are ready to publish, though, you have a LOT of work to do. Most writers need to line up professional editing—often editors are busy and it’s good to get in line.  

But how do you find a good editor? What kind of editing do you need?

Look over the Editors Guild’s website about finding and working with an editor, costs, and types of editing:
  • developmental editing
  • substantive editing
  • copyediting
  • proofreading 

You’ll also find good tips in Elisabeth Kauffman’s Finding the Editor Who’s Right For You.

Before you send that manuscript off to an editor, do your own editing. The more you spiff up your manuscript, the less it could cost—some editors charge by the hour. If you submit a manuscript that’s the best you can make it, your editor can focus on other important parts of it. Why pay someone to do what you can do yourself?

(Critique groups and beta readers can be valuable beyond price in helping improve your manuscript and, frankly, they can keep you from embarrassing yourself in public. Read Belinda Pollard’s What is a beta reader and why do I need one? Also check out Valerie Comer’s blog post, Rewrite versus Revise versus Edit.  Many of us use the word rewrite—“from-the-ground-up rewrite”—when we mean revise. See “I like to rewrite. Sound crazy?”)

Like Ruth Harris said, “Editing can…turn an OMG-did-I-write-that? draft into a book you can be proud of.” Don’t miss Ruth’s 9 Ways Editors Can Make You Look Good…And 7 Ways They Can Make You Miserable. It’s packed with important info for you.

You’ll also find good insights in Karen Ball’s What an Editor Does: Peeling Back the Layers.

Be cautious in hiring an editor. “Though there are a lot of honest independent editors out there, you have to be diligent about looking for red flags,” according to The Writer’s Circle. For example, “If an editor doesn’t want to give out information about their credentials…or info about previously edited work then you have reason to be suspicious.” You’ll also find other excellent tips in How to Find an Independent Editor to Review Your Work.


  1. Thankyou for this helpful information! I have some reading to do!

    1. Victoria, I'm happy to have helped. We have so much to consider, so much to learn! We need to help each other! Blessings to you, dear Victoria.

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