So, you have finally finished your book. One of the next steps is to find an editor to help you prepare your manuscript for publication. But how do you pick the right editor? Here are some practical steps and guidance to help you through the selection process.
Know What You Want
It helps to be specific about what you are looking for when you seek out editors. The editorial process is generally divided into developmental editing, line editing, copy editing and proofreading.
- Do you want help with the story as a whole, feedback about the plot, story arc and character development? You are looking for developmental editing or a manuscript critique.
- Are you confident about your plot and characters? Do you want someone to take a close look at your style, language and grammar? You want line editing.
- Do you want someone to just fix grammatical issues and ensure style consistency? You want copy editing.
- Are you happy with your professionally edited manuscript, and just want someone to take a final look to make sure there are no remaining typos or formatting issues? You want proofreading.
Are you still unsure? Find more detail on what these terms mean.
Select a Few Editors
You will want to get in touch with editors who:
- Have knowledge of the genre
- Are clear in their own writing
- Are approachable
Ask For a Sample Edit
Once you have narrowed down your candidates, send them a few pages of your manuscript and ask for a sample edit.
A sample edit will give you an idea of how the editor will work with you. These samples are usually a few pages of your manuscript marked up using the “Track Changes” feature in MS Word. When you review the samples, keep these questions in mind:
- Do they understand your story?
- Are they making your writing better?
- Do they respect your voice?
- Are they bringing out the best in your writing, while staying true to your style?
- Do they take time to explain any major changes?
- Are they making room in the process for discussion?
- Do you feel in control?
- Do you trust this editor with your work?
Agree On a Process
All editors have slightly different processes. Establishing the details of your expectations up front will help you make sure that you are on the same page as your editor. You might want to discuss:
- What the process includes
- What comes at an extra charge
- How you will handle any discussion or disagreement
- When you expect the editorial work to be complete
Your editor can help you make your story the best it can be. The right editor will give your manuscript a shiny polish and help you further develop your writing skills, all while giving you respect and control.