How to Choose the Right Book Editor for Your Manuscript
Writing a book is an immensely personal journey. Every word on the page reflects a piece of your soul, making the book editing process a critical step towards shaping your draft into your exact vision.
Hi, I’m Hannah Bauman, Book editor and owner of Between the Lines Editorial. I work primarily with indie authors to help them take their novels from draft to publication.
Choosing the right editor isn’t just about finding someone to correct your grammar. It’s about finding a professional who understands your genre, appreciates your voice, and can help you elevate your work to its highest potential.
But in the online publishing world, there are so many possible book editors to choose from. How do you find the right person for your project?
Look for Formal Training and Education
On the internet, it’s easy for anyone to claim they’re a freelancer in any field. And editing is about far more than ‘liking to read’ or ‘being good at finding typos.’
When you’re looking for a book editor, look for one with some kind of formal training in the field. This may be a graduate-level degree or certifications from reputable organizations like the Editorial Freelancers Association or Editors Canada. Their training ensures they are well-versed not only in language mechanics but also in the art of storytelling and the intricacies of the publishing industry.
Genre Expertise Matters
Finding an editor who specializes in your genre is paramount, especially when you’re thinking about story edits.
Whether you’re writing fantasy, romance, mystery, or any other genre, an editor familiar with the conventions, tropes, and nuances of your chosen genre can provide tailored feedback that strengthens your narrative.
Beware of Unrealistic Promises
Be cautious of editors promising ‘cheap’ or ‘perfect’ editing. Quality editing is a skilled profession, and a thorough, professional edit takes many, many hours to complete.
Editors offering suspiciously low rates might compromise the depth and quality of their edits.
Remember, investing in a professional book editor is an investment in your book’s success.
Vibes Matter; Trust Your Instincts
Editing is a collaborative process, so it’s crucial to have good chemistry with your editor.
Arrange a conversation with potential editors to get a sense of their personality and work style. Do you feel comfortable sharing your creative vision with them? Do you appreciate their communication style? Trust your instincts; the right editor should feel like a literary confidante.
The Edits You Need
When looking for an editor, know what type of edit you’re looking for.
Do you need developmental edits, or something that dives deep into your story’s structure and characters? Or maybe you need copyedits to help you refine your prose and grammar.
Make sure the editor you want to work with actually offers that service. Not every editor offers every type of editing!
Request a Sample Edit
Book editors, much like authors, have unique styles. Some have a more personable tone while others are more blunt. Some offer lengthy explanations while some simplify as much as possible. Some have a heavier hand while others only want to suggest changes that are absolutely necessary.
Request a sample edit to assess if you like the editor’s style and if their feedback aligns with your vision for your manuscript. Pay attention to how they handle your writing voice and whether their suggestions resonate with you.
Editing is a Partnership
Finding the right book editor is a vital step in your publishing journey. Don’t rush this decision; take the time to research, communicate, and trust your intuition. A skilled editor not only polishes your story but also nurtures your creative voice.
Remember, this collaboration is a partnership. The right editor will not only enhance your manuscript but also empower you as a writer, guiding you toward your fullest potential.
Happy writing and editing!