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How To Choose An Editor

Choosing a book editor begins with, “What kind of editor do I need?”

Often as the first step in the editorial process, you can work with developmental editors who help with overall structure and flow as well as plot and character development. Once you’re confident that there won’t be a significant amount of structural changes, you should work with a copyeditor for consistency, readability, grammar and punctuation. Don’t hire someone to proofread until the very last step as they focus on correcting indisputable typos or formatting errors before publishing and printing. 


How much should I expect to pay for a freelance editor?

As a first step, it helps to know your budget and timeframe and make sure it’s in line with the going rates for freelance editors. You’ll find a wide range out there but it’s a good idea to check if your potential editor’s fees seem reasonable by comparing to the rates suggested by the Editorial Freelancers Association.  

Remember that you get what you pay for so take care not to just go with the lowest rate available. 


What questions should I ask a potential book editor?

Start by asking for a sample edit of your work for three important reasons. First, a sample edit allows you to evaluate the quality of their editing style. Second, a sample edit allows the editor to provide you with an accurate estimate of cost and timeframe for the project. Third, a sample edit will expose any compatibility issues so you can quickly discover if you are both able to communicate well and work together. Ask some pointed questions (examples can be found in our recent blog post on this topic) and ask for references.


How do I select the best book editor?

Look back through your notes and decide which editor has the most pros vs. cons. What is most important to you? Experience? Timing? Cost? Consider their professionalism in how they spoke to you and what feels right for your project. Did the editor ask questions about your work and your preferences? Will they respect your voice? Will they only make suggestions to enhance readability and only make changes that are indisputable errors in grammar, syntax, or usage? Do they communicate well and use a helpful rather than condescending tone? Will they stay in touch often and keep you updated on their progress? I like to add these subjective questions to my criteria list and use math to support my gut instinct. If you’d like me to share my “How to Choose an Editor” scoring spreadsheet, leave your email here

How to Choose an Editor for Your Book

How to Choose an Editor for Your Book

Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Your Editor


When should an editor review my work?

Developmental editing should be done before Copyediting. Proofreading should be the last step before publication so the manuscript should be completed and formatted first. As an author, it saves you money to edit as you write and once again after completing the manuscript. Another tip - it is very effective to print and read aloud.

Does my work require light or heavy copyediting?

According to The Copyeditor's Handbook by Amy Einsohn, light copyediting ensures consistency in all mechanical matters such as spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc. and correcting all indisputable errors in grammar, syntax and usage. While light copyediting identifies problem areas, heavy copyediting entails rewriting and revising wordy and unclear areas. Heavy copyediting includes suggested changes to identified problem areas.

How can I see what changes are made by the editor?

Our editing suggestions are captured in Word using the MS Word Track Changes functionality.

When can I expect editing to be completed?

Our editors provide an estimated completion time after reviewing a sample of your work based on the editing time per page and the number of pages of the entire project. This sample also helps determine if light or heavy copyediting is required.

In what format should my work be provided to the editor?

Word files only please (.doc or .docx)

How do we get started?

Contact us. We will walk you through the process.

  1. Quick call to discuss your goals, the intended audience, and our process
  2. Quote based on sample of work  and estimated time to complete editing
  3. Your work polished and returned, ready for publication