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How to choose the right editor for your book

When it comes to editing a book, there isn’t a formula for all editors to use that helps them achieve a perfect result every time. Book editing is a mixture of expertise and intuition. Since there isn’t a 100% correct way to edit a book, it’s important to find an editor who has experience with your genre, style of writing, and can offer you the services you need.

Yes, you DO need an editor.

Now, some authors might think, “Oh, my writing is great and my story is amazing, therefore, I don’t need an editor!” I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. Everybody needs an editor. Editors are professional writers and professional readers. They act as an outside source to make your book the best it can be. So yes, everybody needs an editor. You owe it to yourself, your story and your readers to make sure that your book is great.

Where do I find one?

It’s important to find an editor who has a good track record of books they’ve worked on. One of the best ways to find an editor is by asking other authors for recommendations. We don’t suggest simply using Google and searching for “book editors”. This probably won’t lead you to your best options. Rather, reach out to several authors and friends in the industry to ensure you find an editor that is right for you and your book. Look at the genres they’ve worked with to be sure that they can edit your style of writing.

What types of editing are there?

There are three main types of editing. It’s important to figure out what aspects of your book you need revised to be certain your book reaches its full potential. You may not need a structural edit, but you will need a copy edit and a proofread. It’s simply not possible for an editor to properly proofread a manuscript that still has the errors a copy edit will fix.

Different editors specialize in different types of editing, thus it’s crucial to find an editor that can offer the exact type of editing you need. You might need just one editor, while others might need three different ones. This all depends on you and how developed your book is.

  1. Content or structural editing helps develop the plot and characters in fiction.

  2. Copy editing checks for grammar and sentence structure problems.

  3. Proofreading finds obvious typos or glitches in your manuscript and is the most essential type of edit.

Before you make a final decision on which editor you hire, we suggest having each one do a sample edit. Give at least three editors the same book sample to edit and then compare their work side by side. Some editors will not edit the sample enough, while others will edit a lot more than you expected. By comparing various editor’s work side by side, it will reveal which editor will understand you and your story the best to ultimately improve your book. Don’t choose the author that makes you feel good about yourself. Choose the author that will do the best work for your book.

When do I need an editor?

You’ve found the editor(s) you need, and now you might be wondering, “When do I hand off my manuscript to the editor?” You hand your manuscript off to an editor once there aren’t any more improvements that you can make on your own. This means that you should do every edit and tweak you can until you reach the point where you know you can’t do to anything else to your book to make it better.

Now what?

You’ve found your editor and handed off your manuscript. It’s time to prepare yourself. You might be surprised at what the editor changes, but it’s important to remember that the editor is there to make your book the best it can possibly be. If the editor doesn’t hand back your manuscript with numerous changes, they’re not doing their job correctly. Keep in mind that all of the time and stress of editing will be worth it in the end, so relax and don’t rush the process. Although accepting an editor’s suggestions is crucial, always remember that it is YOUR book and you are the boss. If something doesn’t feel right, it might not be. Do what is best for you and your story to make it the best book it can possibly be.

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Editors will always be needed as long as people are writing. Remember, there isn’t a 100% correct way to edit a story, so taking time to find the right editor is essential for you and your book’s success. Editors want you and your book to succeed and they want to be a part of the process. In the end, be sure to take your time, choose wisely, and trust your instincts.