If you’ve already written your book and want to publish it, you will need someone to edit it.
But you might be asking, are there book editors near me? How much will it cost? How will I know if they’ll be a good fit for me?
You’ve put so much time and effort into writing the book, so don’t trust it to just anyone.
You want to find the best person for your project, which sometimes means sifting through dozens of editors, but how do you weed out the poor candidates from the best?
If you want to know the details, read below for more information.
Decide what kind of editor you need.
Did you know? There are five types of book editors:
- Developmental editors
- Copy editors
- Substantive or line editors
- Acquisition editors
See each of their roles in the book publishing process below.
A developmental editor works with you to improve the structure and organization of your book. They identify the flow of ideas and come up with a structure that would better tell your story while getting the readers hooked on the unravelling.
They focus on the big picture: how your book will tell the scenes in order and whether it makes sense. They ensure and edit away the scenarios and thoughts flow well. They see to it if it’s well-written enough that it’s good for publishing.
They help you identify plot holes and weak points in your story, and they help you develop characters. There would also be times when the editor would suggest changes. For example, a protagonist can acquire a gender change. Then, a supporting character may have more plot twists in their story, and so on.
They also provide feedback on how to improve your writing style, grammar and punctuation, and usage.
Additionally, they will check if there are problems with genre or structure that might prevent it from being accepted by an agent.
Developmental editing is usually the most expensive type of editing service because it involves more than just proofreading or copyediting.
Copyediting can be in-house, or an outside editor can do it if you’re looking for someone to copyedit your book. But consider whether you want them to do it from scratch or review your existing manuscript.
Some authors prefer to do their copyediting because they feel that it’s essential for them to have a sense of ownership over their work and that having someone else step in would take that away from them.
Others prefer to hire an outside copyeditor because they don’t have time or aren’t comfortable doing the job themselves (or both).
But if you decide to hire someone as your copyeditor, their main task is to ensure that your book is grammatically correct and free of typos and other errors.
They also check for consistency with your brand, tone, and voice.
These editors check facts for accuracy and consistency. They research topics and verify the information for books on subjects like history or science.
This can include checking facts about other people’s quotes or research material, as well as verifying that you did your research correctly.
If you’re writing a nonfiction book, this type of editor may be necessary for you so readers know they can trust your claims.
Substantive editors are the most versatile and can handle all kinds of manuscripts, from memoirs to fiction to business books.
Substantive editors are the ones who provide line editing services, which means they make sure your manuscript is grammatically correct and that it adheres to style guides.
They will also check for consistency and ensure that the facts are accurate.
Substantive editors are critical for nonfiction books because readers expect them to be factual and unbiased.
Proofreaders check spelling and grammar errors in written material. They also ensure that each sentence makes sense, that words are correct and conform with established usage, and so on.
They don’t change anything in your manuscript; they ensure everything is correct according to their professional judgement or style guide standards.
Publishing companies often use proofreaders before releasing a book — if you’re self-publishing your book or hiring someone else, proofreading is essential because it can prevent embarrassing errors from being published.
These editors work for publishing houses or literary agencies and acquire new manuscripts from authors. They may also acquire rights from agents or authors.
Acquisitions editors want to see a polished final product because they don’t want their company’s name associated with anything less than top-notch material.
Most acquisitions editors do not edit manuscripts; instead, they give feedback on plot development and character arcs.
However, some may edit part of the manuscript if they feel it needs more work before being sent to publishers or literary agents.
All these editors are essential for creating a publishable manuscript, but they work differently depending on the phase of the writing process they’re used in.
Find an editor.
Suppose you’re self-publishing or traditionally publishing independently. The best way for you to find an editor is to ask around.
Find out which editors your writer friends use and ask if they can recommend anyone. You can also look on professional writing websites and ask if they know of good editors.
If you have an agent, ask them if they have any recommendations. If you don’t have any friends in the industry, then start with Google.
You’ll want an editor who understands self-publishing and can help you comply with all the various requirements set by Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and Apple iBooks, among others.
Editors who specialize in electronic formats tend to be more knowledgeable about these requirements than those who don’t work with e-books.
On the other hand, if you’re traditionally publishing with one of the Big Five publishers, then you’ll want an editor who has worked on other books published by that publisher — especially if those books are similar in genre or format to yours.
For example, if your book is fiction, look for someone who has edited other fiction titles for that particular publisher; if it’s nonfiction, look for someone who has expertise editing titles for that specific genre.
Once you have a pool of editors in mind, you can go ahead and decide if they’re a good fit to work with by doing the following:
- Ask for sample edits.
- Ask your potential editor critical questions such as rates and fees.
Start with the editing process.
After making a final decision, you can sign an agreement and get started with the editing of your book.
In some ways, the best editor will be the one that matches your own needs and personality. There are many options, but the key is finding a book editor who will work well with you to produce your vision.
The most important thing to remember is that your book should never be about your ego. Instead, it’s about the readers and finding a good publisher who can adequately build it for them.
So take the time to find the best book editor out there – one you trust, admire and respect and who has a history of success in the industry.
After all, if you want to write a great book, you will need an equally great editor to do it.