Aspiring authors are courageous souls who put blood, sweat, and tears into creating their literary debuts. For a fledgling author who has devoted months, if not years, to writing your first book, who could blame you for sitting back and glowing with pride at the scope of your undertaking?
The reality is, however, that most authors tend to overestimate their own writing skills. That first manuscript, no matter how many times you have combed through it to detect typographical errors or grammatical snafus, is likely laden with structural, syntax, and spelling faux pas.
All writers, whether they are taking the traditional path to publication or are forging ahead as self-published authors, need the assistance of a professional editor – or a team of editors. This handy guide will help you find a book editor to help turn that rough diamond of a manuscript into a shimmering treasure.
How To Find a Book Editor
To learn how to find prospective editors, follow these steps:
- Identify the type of editing you’re looking for. Keep in mind the different types of editing services available, and understand that you may wish to utilize all of them:
- Developmental editing. This is the “big picture” editor who is best utilized during the early stages of writing your book. The developmental editor guides you on organization and structure and offers tips for plot and character development.
- Copy editing. Also called a line editor, the copy editor goes through the manuscript with an eye for spotting grammatical, spelling, punctuation, tense cohesion, syntax, and general readability issues.
- Proofreading. Proofreading is the final editing step to complete before publication. These editors use an eagle eye to catch any remaining errors still lurking in the manuscript.
- Research freelance book editors in your genre and price range. With such a broad range of freelance editors available, start your search by applying some filters to identify the most relevant ones. Look for experienced editors in your particular genre, and set an editing budget to help guide your selection.
- Create a shortlist of editors. Assemble a list of three or four potential editors that fit your editing needs, genre, and price range.
- Reach out to these editors. Make contact with the editors on your shortlist, either online or by phone to discuss their professional editing services. Interacting with the editors helps you discern whether they are a good fit for your needs.
- Ask for a sample edit. Many professional editors will offer a sample edit if asked. By getting a sample edit, you can see the quality of their edits and suggestions to discern if they are the right fit for your project.
- Finalize project details and hire an editor. After chatting with the individual editors and discussing the scope and cost of the project, it’s time to pull the trigger and hire your editor.
Where To Find a Book Editor You’ll Love
Fortunately, you will find there is an array of sources available for locating a literary editor. Consider these options:
Upwork. This U.S.-based freelancing platform provides a pool of editors with varying levels of expertise and price ranges.
Fiverr. Fiverr is a global freelancing platform that tends to offer the services of novices in the lower price range.
Reedsy. The Reedsy Marketplace offers a team of editing professionals that provides all types of editing, as well as query letter review for authors interested in traditional publishing.
Editorial Freelancers Association. EFA is a U.S. professional organization whose members offer freelance editorial services among a wide range of other writing skills.
With so many amazing editing options available to authors, continue reading to learn how to select the best book editor for your project.
How To Choose a Book Editor
The vetting process involved in finding a book editor is something you don’t want to shortchange. Take the time to ask the following questions of editors on your shortlist:
- What is their experience? This question is especially important if you are looking for an editor on a freelancer platform, as individuals can range from college students to seasoned professionals. Most editors are willing to share links to references, so go ahead and ask.
- Are they genre specific? Look for an editor who has experience in your niche. This is especially critical for nonfiction vs. fiction, as these require different sets of editing skills. But even among fiction genres, there are unique nuances, so try to find a professional who has experience in your specific genre.
- What is their specialty (developmental, copyediting, proofreading)? While some editors provide the full range of editing services, others may specialize in one level of editing. Discern first what your editing needs are before seeking specific services.
- What do they charge for their services? Nowhere does the saying, “You get what you pay for” have more relevance than when selecting an editor! Become familiar with the industry standard rates charged for various editing services to avoid succumbing to the lure of a lowball bid.
- Do they offer a sample edit? Before committing to a contract, ask the editor to provide a sample edit on part of your rough draft. They may have an online form that allows you to submit a certain number of words for their feedback. This step can be very helpful in making your final editor selection.
Work With the Professional Book Editors at Gatekeeper Press
If you are in the process of penning your first book, consider teaming up with the editing professionals at Gatekeeper Press. They offer all types of editing, including developmental, line editing, and proofreading, so go ahead and enjoy a free sample edit from the team! Set up a free consultation today!