How to Find the Right Editor for You
Okay, first off, it’s not just about how to find the right editor, but WHEN. As wonderful as those words are that you just penned to paper, they’re not wonderful enough to be edited by a professional. Not yet, anyway.
Let me speak for every editor (yes, I feel perfectly comfortable doing this) when I say SLOW DOWN. It will not only benefit the editor, but it will also benefit the writer (aka YOU).
Before you even think about hiring an editor, you have a few steps you need to get through. So, let’s just take a little stroll through those steps.
Steps to Take Before Hiring a Book Editor
Take a break. In my “Top Five Self-Editing Tips”, I talk about the importance of taking a break after you finish writing your first draft. Do this.
After you’ve taken your break, it’s time to do some self-editing. YES! Get excited, throw a party, shout your joy from the rooftops (I take no responsibility for those of you clumsy enough to fall off said rooftops while shouting for joy). It's time to get rid of those crutch words, fix that passive voice, delete scenes that have no purpose in moving the story forward, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.
You’ve done your self-editing, go ahead and give yourself a self-five—but not too hard because y’know, you still have more typing to do. It’s time to find your beta-readers. I recommend at least three, and no more than five, in one round because too much feedback can get overwhelming. Whether you do a second round of beta-readers really depends on what kind of feedback you received in the first round.
Okay. Beta-readers are done! Go drink some wine and eat some chocolate in celebration (is it just me who celebrates that way?)! Now you need to implement their feedback and do some more self-edits for good measure.
Whew! You must be tired after going through steps one through four, but guess what? You made it to step five, and now your book is ready for a professional editor.
How Do I Find the Right Book Editor?
There are so many editors out there, and it is absolutely your job to do your due diligence when it comes to hiring one. There are many different questions I recommend asking before hiring an editor.
Does the editor have a speciality? If you’re writing a romance novel, and you find an editor who specializes in editing romance, that’s a great fit! I’m not by any means saying general editors aren’t qualified; many absolutely are! But, you might want an editor who specifically specializes in YOUR genre, and that’s okay.
What qualifications does the editor have? Did she go to school, has a degree in writing or English, or does she have years’ experience editing? Don’t be shy about asking for editors' qualifications if they are not listed on their website!
Does the editor have testimonials? Finding out about previous customers’ experience can be a great way to find out if the editor is the right match for you!
Does the editor offer free sample edits? Any good editor should absolutely offer free sample edits to potential clients. Every editor has different editing styles and it’s important to request sample edits to see if that style matches your own preferences.
Does the editor have a blog or social media accounts? Checking out editors' blogs or social media accounts can be a great way to see what kind of tips they offer, how they interact with others, and their communication styles. Don’t be shy about Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook stalking!
There are SO many good editors out there! But, there are also people who claim to be editors who have no experience, no qualifications, and who will end up doing you a disservice in the long run. It’s ultimately up to you to make sure that doesn’t happen! Now, I want to hear from YOU. What are some of the first things you look for when searching for an editor?