Finding an Editor: An Article by Kathleen Contine.

Kathleen Contine

So your story is ready to go to a professional editor. You’ve gone through your manuscript more times than you can count, your plot is solid, your characters are fleshed out, and there are no grammatical errors in sight.

Or are there?

After going through the gauntlet of looking for an editor for Metal Bones, I’m here to give you some tips and hopefully getting you one step closer to finding your own.

What Type of Editing Do You Need?

The first thing you need to know about editors is they’re not all the same. Do you want someone to look at your plot? Then you’ll need a developmental editor. Not sure you use quotations correctly? A copy editor would be your best choice. Let’s break it down from who edits biggest details to who gets in the nitty gritty.

A developmental editor looks at things like story structure, pacing, plot, characterization, and the timeline of the book. They don’t care about grammar, only that your story flows and makes sense to the reader. Not everyone necessarily needs this as they go through beta readers and CPs but if you feel like you need another look then don’t skip it!

Copy editing and line editing is the edit you give your manuscript when the only thing you need to fix is grammar, language, and syntax usage. This is when those pesky punctuation marks are taken care of. Think of it as putting the finishing details on a painting to make its details really pop.

Proofreading is exactly what it sounds like. You have the proof of your book in your hands. It’s a real thing! You just need to go through it one more time to make sure you didn’t miss anything. You can do this yourself, but you can read your book in your sleep at this point so it would be better to have someone else do it.

It’s Time to Find an Editor!

Now that you know the different types of editing, how do you go about finding an editor? I would compare it to dating. Before you even start, you need to know what you’re looking for. Since we’ve gone over the different types of editing you should have a good idea. For the purpose of this article I’m going to assume you already know your budget.

Keep in mind that you aren’t going to find your editor the day you start looking. I started looking for mine before I was done with my manuscript. Save the websites of people who look promising and come back to them later.

So, where do you start looking? Searching Google gave me a limited amount of results (isn’t google supposed to be an endless amount of information?). I found that searching Instagram pulled up a lot more people. Mostly because they had ‘editor’ in their name or bio and their website was right there to click. Other sites such as Upwork, Creativepenn, and Reedsy also have a wide selection to choose from, though you do have to create an account for each.

Don’t be afraid to ask writer friends who have already gone through the process! They’ll be able to give you advice and suggestions as well.

As you go through different websites, one thing you’ll notice is that a lot of people have reviews of their services. Can you look up these books or authors? I would strongly suggest doing so to make sure the reviews are legitimate.

Let’s say you find someone who looks promising. I’m going to go back to my analogy of dating. You don’t want to jump into a ‘relationship’ with an editor right away. Many editors will offer a sample edit of your first chapter or a certain number of pages. You can think of it as the first date.

When you look at that sample edit it’s easy to get caught up in what they’re pointing out that you need to fix, but don’t let that discourage you! Instead think about how they edited your manuscript. Did you like how they pointed things out? Were they pleasant to work with? Do you think you could work with them for a long period of time?

If not, politely let them know you decided not to work with them. If yes, then great! You’ll both work out the specifics such as payment and timeline.

And that’s it! I hope this article was helpful in giving you direction to find an editor and speeds up the process for you! Good luck!


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