When hiring a professional editor, you are choosing a new partner for your manuscript. Thus, we recommend these 10 questions to ask a potential editor for your book.
Honestly, choosing an editor is a lot like dating. You need to ask the right questions before you commit to this adventure. Be aware of the commitment you are making as an author. Be clear with your expectations and needs.
Ask questions. Get to know your editor. Understand the process of editing. Know how to get your needs met by speaking the same language and clearly asking for help. Find out how to get the best results from this partnership.
Prepare yourself and give your best. Create results that are mutually satisfying. Accept any limitations that may exist due to pre-existing conditions. (budget, experience, knowledge, etc.)
The more you prepare yourself for success the more likely you are to find the right match for your needs.
That is why we have Self-Editing School. Create a foundation of understanding. The better you can self-edit the better you can write. This proactive method is mutually beneficial for both you and your editor.
You also get a better return for your investment in professional editing services when you properly prepare. The more knowledgeable and familiar you are with the editing process, the better results you will achieve. Preparation also lets your editor dig deeper into your message and less into your typos.
1. What’s your professional editing experience?
An editor’s experience includes their professional (paid) editing history, writing, publishing, teaching, continued education credits, professional certifications, and on-the-job training.
2. What have you edited?
An editor works with different genres, authors, books, publishing methods (indies vs. traditional), and more. You need to match this experience with your book and goals.
Ask about their successfully published authors / past clients. Ask for references and testimonials if they are not proudly displaying this.
3. What are your editing qualifications?
As in every profession, there are various certifications, training, and qualifications available to the dedicated editor. Their commitment to continued education and growth results in expertise. Ask for a list of their certifications, advanced degrees, additional training, and professional affiliations.
4. Why should I trust you to edit my book?
You are investing a large amount of money into professional editing. Get an outline of your editor’s guarantees. This includes, but is not limited to, such concerns as their
- Policy for errors
- Corrections process or multiple revisions
- Promises of publication
- History of happy clients
5. What is your communication style?
Make sure you feel confident working with this person.
- Are you a “good match” for each other? How do you know?
- Are your expectations clear? Has the editor confirmed them?
- How do you communicate with them during the editing process & after?
- Are you confident in their abilities? Have you received a sample?
6. What editing services do you recommend for my manuscript?
Editors give professional recommendations based upon your
- Editing Stage
- Level of Editing Required
- Desired Services
7. What do I get with professional editing services?
Get an outline of your editor’s deliverables. For example with a certified Story Coach, we would provide
- Editing services
- Summary Letter with Professional Critique
- Embedded Notes
- Outlined Track Changes for individual review & acceptance
- Revisions Support & Tools
- Visuals such as story arc graph
- Word count & scene analysis
- Story map, elements, or other objective evaluation methods
- Software tools & format delivery
- Coaching & Consultation Services
8. How much does it cost to work with you as my professional editor?
Pricing & Delivery are very important and should be discussed early on. Always confirm:
- How much does editing cost?
- What do I get from my editor?
- When will my editing be complete?
9. What do you offer besides editing?
Different editors offer many supplementary services. Find out what they provide. BEWARE the all-in-one service as no one can be an expert in everything.
10. Can I see examples of your work or test your editing skills first?
Ask for a free editing sample.
Before you reach out to a professional editor, you can consider some introspective questions first. These are not necessary but they can definitely assist with preparing for professional editing.
- What is your goal for your book & how does editing support this?
- Define your genre, sub-genre, and style of writing
- Write your blurb which serves as your
- Promise to your readers
- Guideline for your editor
- Know your audience –
- What are their expectations from this genre?
- What are their expectations from your blurb?
- What do you need from your editor?
- Style guides, submission guidelines, agent requirements, etc.
- Editing service and support services
- What do you want?
- Different levels of editing
- Different depths of service
- DIY vs DFY
- What can you afford?
- How important is your reputation
- Editing is an investment
Be diligent when seeking help from a professional editor.
If you don’t know what you need or what to expect, just contact us for personal assistance.