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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Taylor

Hiring the Perfect Editor for Your Book: 12 Excellent Questions to Ask


The words 'hiring the perfect editor for your book' are above an image of a piece of text being corrected in red pen.

Choosing the right editor is one of the most crucial steps in your publishing journey. An editor can elevate your book to its highest potential, but finding the right one requires careful consideration and the right questions.


1) When Should I Hire an Editor?

You should hire an editor once your book is as polished as you can make it on your own. Self-editing is crucial as it ensures you get the most value from professional editing services. Remember, many editors book their projects weeks or months in advance, so start your search early. Last-minute bookings are often not feasible.


2) What Type of Editing Do You Offer?

Understanding the different types of editing is essential. Editing usually progresses through several stages:


  • Developmental Editing: Focuses on the content, structure, and overall narrative.

  • Line Editing: Concentrates on the language, voice, and style.

  • Copy Editing: Looks at grammar, punctuation, and clarity.

  • Proofreading: The final polish after formatting, ensuring no typos or errors remain.


Knowing which stage your manuscript is in will help you determine which type of editing you need. Some editors offer all these services, while others specialise in one or two areas. I offer copy editing and proofreading.


3) What Training and Experience Do You Have?

The paths to becoming an editor are diverse. Some editors have formal training or degrees in English, communications, or journalism. Others might have experience in publishing houses or related fields like journalism. Many editors continue to develop their skills through professional courses and memberships in editorial organisations like the Editorial Freelancers Association or the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading.


4) What Genres Do You Specialise In?

Editors familiar with your genre will understand its conventions and reader expectations. For instance, an editor specialising in children’s books may not be the best fit for a romance novel.


5) Do You Offer Sample Edits?

Sample edits can be incredibly insightful. They give you a sense of an editor’s style and approach. Some editors offer a short sample edit for free or a small fee, while others may charge for this service due to the risk of "Frankenediting", where authors try to get their entire manuscript edited for free by different editors.


6) How Much Will Editing Cost?

Editing costs vary widely based on the type of service and the editor’s experience. Payment structures can also vary. Some editors may offer instalment plans or tailored packages to fit your budget.


7) What Can I Expect to Get Back from You?

Clarify what’s included in the editing package. Some editors offer comprehensive feedback; others might provide more focused services like an editorial report. Ensure you understand what deliverables you will receive and how you will communicate during the process.


8) What Is Your Availability?

Availability is key, especially since many editors are booked in advance. Discuss timelines and ensure you can reserve a spot in the editor’s schedule. Be prepared to pay a deposit to secure your booking, and understand that quick turnarounds may incur extra fees.


9) Can I Have a Reference from Other Authors You Have Worked With?

While many editors provide testimonials on their websites, they might not share direct contact information of past clients. This ensures client confidentiality. However, reading testimonials can give you an idea of their reliability and quality of work.


10) Do You Have a Contract or Set of Terms and Conditions, Which Includes a Confidentiality Clause?

Professional editors usually have a contract outlining the terms and conditions, including confidentiality clauses. My terms are based on the CIEP’s model, ensuring your work remains confidential.


11) Can We Speak on the Phone or via Zoom?

A discovery call or consultation can help you gauge if the editor is the right fit for you. I offer a free 15-minute discovery call for new clients; additional consultations can be scheduled as needed.


12) How Long Will the Edit Take?

The duration depends on your book’s length and condition and my current workload. Typically, a copyedit takes a minimum of three weeks. An estimated timeline will be provided at the enquiry stage, and a delivery date will be confirmed before work begins.


Finding the right editor is like finding the perfect house or hairdresser — it requires research and careful consideration. Don’t rush the process. Contact multiple editors, ask questions, and find the one whose skills and values align with your needs. If you would like to talk to me about copy editing or proofreading, get in touch via email at the_blue_pencil@yahoo.com or through my website.

 

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