Ever seen a page of acknowledgments where the author hasn’t mentioned the book editor? In crappy books maybe. Editors play a huge part in transforming seemingly ordinary stories into bestselling books. And authors know the worth of what they do. No matter how good you are at writing, or even editing and proofreading, you can’t possibly accomplish your best writing all by yourself.  

Wanted: A Book Editor 

If your goal is to produce a well-written book, put out a notice for an editor to join you in the project. It’s entirely possible that your story doesn’t have any major flaws. But taking the effort to ensure it is flawless in its entirety matters. That makes having a book editor on board an absolute must! Here’s the instrumental role they play in developing every book: 

  • Polishing the manuscript for literary excellence. 
  • Make sure the draft is free from all errors; grammar, spelling, language, and punctuation. 
  • Point out irregular sentence structure, character flaws, logical inconsistencies, and plot holes. 

Doing all this takes a lot of time, patience and persistence. That’s why authors hire specialized book editors because they can’t possibly fix these things in the draft they’ve written and looked at for months! 

There are various levels of editing; some editors do it all while others specialize in one or two. You will have to decide what level of editing your manuscript requires:  

Developmental editing 

Also called conceptual editing; is a job to appraise your manuscript at the macro level.

Line editing

Comprehensive editing where the editor scans through for error line-by-line in the manuscript. Your words will gain* a rhythmic flow.

Proofreading 

The last line of defense against errors, proofreading is the final check to ensure your books get published without a single error: Language, grammar, plot or structure. 

Learn more about the levels of editing here.

How to choose an editor?

Recommendations

Have any self-published author friend who swears by an editor? Choose her without flinching. As someone has benefitted from their work first hand, you won’t have to doubt their credibility. If you don’t have one (start networking!), you can look up on social media websites or official websites about who they prefer.   

Genre 

Look for an editor experienced and comfortable with your genre. Such editors are well versed with the tropes and are familiar with the reader’s expectations. Be assured that they’re playing to their strengths, as they’ve carved a niche in that specific genre. They are well-versed with the flow, structure, and literary devices that work. At the developmental stage they also help you with dialogue and setting the appropriate mood.

Rates 

There is a pricing tussle between freelance editors and online proofreading services. While the former mostly charge hourly, the latter charge on word count. They’re all competitively priced; the cost depends on the time factor and the level of editing you want for your project.

Sample 

Make sure you ask for a free sample edit before you commit to a particular editor. Most book editors provide a short sampler to showcase their work and provide a quote with it. If you accede to the given changes, rope them in! Any detailed comments on the document also tell you a thing or two about the person, and how you’ll get along with the editor in them.

Where to find book editors? 

Reedsy

A marketplace to meet editors, designers or designers who can help bring your book to life. Reedsy is a great platform to find a team of professionals and put them together in one place. Apart from that they also offer a lot of other interesting services that help the author perform better, like the Collaborative Writing Tool. 

Servicescape 

Another cool platform to find freelancers you can put to task for editing, proofreading and designing your book. Additionally they also provide translation services. 

Papertrue 

PaperTrue provides professional editing and proofreading to ensure your manuscripts are error-free and impactful, with improved flow and formatting. Our expert editors are English experts who specialize in a diverse set of genres. We provide editing, proofreading, and formatting – all included in a single fee!

Freelancer 

Another cool platform to find freelancers you can put to task for editing, proofreading and designing your book. Additionally, they also provide translation services. 

What are the alternatives?

Professional book editors are pricey people to hire, and no one complains really. That impartial, experienced third party perspective gives you a priceless insight into the further scope of your story.

Novice self-publishing authors are mostly tight on budget and cannot afford to hire professional editors, and that’s okay. If you’re in a situation like that, can you find an outsider’s perspective in:  

Friends and family 

If you’ve got anyone in the family who’s written a book, teaches English at school or has a flair for writing, take em for granted! Plead if you must, but ask them to read through your story and give honest critical feedback. Make it clear the payment won’t be in cash, but in familial loyalty.  

Beta readers 

An authors’ support base that reviews a manuscript before it’s published. They give feedback about what they like and don’t like about your story. Having beta readers study your draft is a great measure of quality control. Don’t expect any editing efforts on their part. Professional beta editors get paid, but you can make unpaid arrangements as well.

That’s all we’ve got for you about how to pick the best editor for your novel. Which approach suits you the best? Do let us know in the comments!