How to Find a Book Editor

Finding an editor

You’ve worked hard to complete your manuscript. Now, you naturally need an experienced book editor to help you hone it — ensuring its best chances in today’s competitive market. A great book editor is much more than a fresh pair of eyes. He or she can be an invaluable asset throughout your author career. Yet, there’s more to it than hiring just anyone to catch writing errors or offer broad feedback. You also want to find a book editor who aligns with your author goals.

A quick Google search will reveal that there are many book editors out there. This can be both exciting and stressful for authors. Especially when you consider the many specialties and types of services, this search can quickly feel confusing. To help you make the best choice, consider the guide below. It can help you jumpstart your quest to find a book editor that’s a perfect fit for your writing goals.

3 Tips for Hiring an Editor:

1.Look at books similar to yours.

Behind every successful book is a great editor. Thankfully, they are easier to find than you may initially think: in published books’ acknowledgements section or on the copyright page. One tip is to pinpoint other already published books that are in the same vein as yours. This isn’t to say that if you wrote a fantasy novel, you should only survey other fantasy novels. Rather, if your book is a poignant coming-of-age tale or has a dystopian slant, you might find success scouring the bookstore shelves for those types of stories and investigating who edited them. You can also look for well-selling self-published books on websites like Amazon, which are more likely to name a specific editor. This may lead you on the right path.

This method can be helpful for authors who are particularly puzzled by the sheer number of book editors an Internet search can yield. Beginning a query to an editor with something along the lines of “I loved the book you recently edited, and my novel is similar…” can also clue an editor into what your author goals are.

2. Think about the coaching style you want.

If you’re here, you already know that book editing is a more complex process than simply catching errors. Are you looking for in-depth developmental editing? For an editor to hold your hand throughout the process? Remember that book editing is as much art as science — and has the potential for a deeper human relationship.

Consider the personal style of your ideal editor. If you’re a first-time author, do you want to be nurtured, and coached through the process? Does the idea of a mentor relationship that could last multiple books appeal to you? Or, do you want something more straightforward, where you simply turn in a manuscript and receive frank feedback? Many editors take their services a step further, offering retreats or one-on-one intensives that truly coach authors toward refining their writing craft. Therefore, if this intrigues you, consider narrowing your searches to these terms and investigating if the editors offer an array of different editing services as well.

3. Delve into resources.

The Internet can be a perplexing place where it’s hard to discern quality. Thankfully, there are already long-revered guides to professional book editors that help you slice through confusion. These guides, curated by longtime experts in the field, list editors who are vetted and have a stellar track record. They also tend to break down the different types of editing (developmental, line, copyediting, and proofreading) and even note editors’ preferred genres.

Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents. There are some great industry reference guides out there to help you find a book editor. Writer’s Digest’s Writer’s Market has several new editions each year. However, one robust guide I always recommend is Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents: Who They Are, What They Want, How to Win Them Over, which is updated every two years. The book also contains some very helpful articles on writing and publishing.

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