How to find an Editor

You have written your manuscript, essay, thesis, dissertation, author’s bio, or play. Into this project you have poured time, effort, sweat, and tears, so it’s important to get the right editor for the next step – getting it ready for publication.

This can be a tricky task, but there are a few steps you can follow to help you find an editor that is right for your work.

The relationship between the writer and the editor is important, and therefore, the selection of an editor should not be rushed. You should also make sure you have done everything you can to your manuscript first before putting it before the editor.

The first step in getting an editor is knowing where to look. Internet searches, personal recommendations, writing conferences, or professional organizations will no doubt point you to a smorgasbord of choices. You may also find an editor from completed works you have come across that you felt were professionally presented without mistakes. Whittling through the options and comparing the book editors is the next challenge.

Whatever you do, get someone with the right background, experience, and the appropriate training. If you have a work of literature, then get someone with a background in literature. If you have a technical manual, make sure you send it to an editor with experience in that field.

You also want to make sure the editor is a native English speaker and is using or can use the kind of English you want for your completed work, as it does vary between countries. The best way of doing that might be to get on the phone with them or even Skype, as a name might not always reveal if they are a native speaker.

Another way of choosing from among the options available is to see if they will provide a free sample of their work so you can see exactly what kind of work they do. You may also want to ask if they are full-time or freelance, and therefore able to meet your deadline if something else comes up. You should also ensure they will re-edit the manuscript if you find mistakes in their work. Having a written agreement stating some of these factors is a good idea before handing over your cash.

Once you have found someone suitable, the next step will be to decide on a price. In-demand and established editors will tend to charge more, but they also guarantee quality work and will meet your deadlines. Whatever you do, don’t choose price over quality. Getting your manuscript edited is an investment. You should therefore look for the best, most qualified editor who has handled projects like yours before. If they fit your budget, go for it.

Depending on what level of editing you request, the price will vary. Editors that provide free sample edits may give feedback as to the level of editing the manuscript needs. Some editors may proofread, others will do copyediting or technical editing. Proofreading fixes basic mistakes, while copyediting will actually rewrite your work, and technical editing makes corrections to format and style to ensure your work follows the standard required, and is good for academic papers. When selecting an editor, you should ensure they are familiar with the style guide you need to employ.

Once the editor gets started on your project, remember that while they are the expert, it is still your manuscript. You can choose to disregard alterations they make/suggest, but do remember they will be more experienced in recognizing things like passive voice, dialogue construction, and grammar/spelling errors. However, always consider their changes before accepting them.

Keep an open line of communication between you and the editor. Good editors are adept at giving constructive criticism so you can improve your work without feeling depressed about your abilities. But also remember it’s their job to find errors in your work and make suggestions, so don’t take it personally. However, it is always good to have an editor whom you feel handles these matters delicately and allows you to retain your voice as author in the work.

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