From Good Story to Awesome: Choosing the Right Editor For Your Manuscript

So, you woke up with a great story. All you have to do is get it down on paper. You've read through it over and over, checked it for errors and inconsistencies, and it looks fantastic. Right? Uh, no. First of all, remember your English teacher telling you to never proof your own writing? Long story short, you are simply too close to it. The more times you read it, the more errors you overlook. You know exactly what you want to say, exactly what you mean to convey, but it takes another pair of eyes to determine how clear your message really is - a well-trained pair of eyes. That, my friend, is an editor. No one can take your work to the next level faster than the right editor, so let's talk briefly about some things to consider when choosing one.

First, how accurate is the editor's website and blog. This is often your first impression, and errors in the editor's post are indicative of carelessness. You know what that translates to - the same carelessness with your work.

A few other things to consider are whether the editor enjoys reading or writing in your genre or sub genre. How many books have they read in your genre? Experience is the best teacher, and in order to know what is expected, editors have to read lots of books. Go figure!

Another step I'd suggest you take is to read some of the editor's work. If you don't like their style or enjoy their story, well, you get the picture.

Finally, consider the time frame, cost, and editing style. Yes, there are styles involved. Some editors try to write your book for you, some have absolutely nothing positive to say, and others have learned the age-old art of offering healthy doses of encouragement to help you swallow the constructive criticism without developing an ulcer or giving up. Let's face it. Most artists have to deal with quite a bit more criticism than the average Josie. We live most of our lives under scrutiny, and everybody everywhere is a critic. The last thing you need is a cocky, condescending editor. You need your editor to be in your corner and have more positive things to say about your potential, even if they can't honestly say it about your work at the moment.

Finally, can you communicate with your editor easily and in a timely manner? Is s/he able to explain things to you so they are clear and you don't keep making the same mistakes? Your writing should get better every time you work on a project together, and I don't mean just that particular story. Long-term improvements should be your goal.

So, with those few things in mind, here's a sampling of a few freelance editors. You can sign up for my newsletter for a list of 45. Their links and Twitter handles are included in most cases so you can peruse their sites and take a look at the services they offer. Some even have testimonials from satisfied customers. I only have online connections with a few of them and even my list of 45 is far from conclusive, but the ones I've talked to are great people to know. Please feel free to offer the names of other editing experts in comments. Happy shopping!

Editors (Sample)

6.@Swiftinkeditor (Jessica Swift Eldridge)

7.@Autiej (Autumn Conley)


Lauren I. Ruiz said…
I'm a freelance editor, so I'd like to add myself to the list. On my site you'll find testimonials and rates, and because they're so important for the client to see whether we'd be a good fit, I offer free samples as well.

Thanks for the post promoting editors! We are an important part of the process if I do say so myself! :)
Dariel Raye said…
I totally agree with you, Lauren. Thanks for introducing yourself :-)