I’m about to hit send after working for a whole month on this manuscript. After this moment, all the work I’ve done will be received and scrutinized, and there’s always a part of me that fears rejection. I hit send and wait.
This is the book editor’s side of the equation. My client has been waiting expectantly for a month to receive the feedback that will push their book forward towards their publication deadline. Will it resonate?
Fifteen minutes later I get an email back from my client. “I read the editing report and it was so, so, so helpful. So many light bulbs went off in my head. I really learned a lot and appreciate the suggested readings. So far, I think the edits are marvelous and shore up my weaknesses. It’s also inspired me to write better already!”
Moments like these happen consistently when a writer fits well with an editor. When there’s a good match. And many of my clients have been working with me for years, because they don’t have to keep going through the hassle of searching for an editor that lives up to their expectations.
That’s why it’s important to carefully select an editor. And to follow your gut when you interact with them. Ask questions and see how their sample edit feels.
Hiring a Professional Editor You Trust
You’ve probably spent the last couple of years on your book (or more!), and you know that your next step is to find a professional editor you trust, someone who really gets your vision and whose feedback will refine and polish your story. I bet you’ve spent so long drafting your novel, going through (seemingly endless?) revisions and intensive rounds of rewrites, that you’re eager to pass over your manuscript to that trusted editor.
And I get it! It’s no easy task to find an editor. The internet is awash in people claiming to be editors without much training or experience. It’s hard to know what you’ll get, and trust is at a premium. As it should be.
Finding a good book editor can be a daunting task, but it’s crucial for bringing your writing to the next level and publishing the best possible version of your book. That’s why I wrote this blog post: to help you find that right-fit editor.
But before I get into it, check out my overview of the three types of editing. It’s important you think about what kind of editor you actually need:
In an ideal world, you would work with a different editor at each stage, but that’s not always possible or even necessary. Every book is different.
Whether you’re a self-published or traditionally published author, having a good editor can make all the difference. Here are some places where you can find good book editors.
Ask Other Writers in Your Genre to Recommend Good Book Editors
Direct referrals are gold because you can ask the writer about their experience. These sorts of testimonials will help you feel confident in the editor’s skills and how they work with authors. You can even preview the first chapter of their book on Amazon to see how it reads.
If you’re part of a formal writers association, like the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America or Horror Writers Association, ask around.
Here are some other established writers groups online:
Search Online Directories of Editing Associations
There are several big editing associations you can check out. Most have online directories.
Attend Writing Conferences
Attending writing conferences and workshops can be a great way to network with other writers and meet editors. You can attend workshops/panels and participate in pitching sessions where you can showcase your work and get feedback from professionals. There are so many online conferences too, which makes it easier to connect with editors beyond your local area.
Here are a few to start with:
The Poets & Writers website has a database where you can search for US conferences.
The Association of Writers and Writing Programs also has a database for North American events.
Connect with Professional Editors on Social Media and Blogs
Using social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok among others can be a great way to connect with editors and other writers. Joining writing communities on these platforms and participating in online discussions can help you find potential editors. Don’t forget to search relevant hashtags and connect with editors (like #BookTok and #AuthorTok on TikTok). We love to connect with writers!
Editors are all over social media. Search for terms like “book editor,” “fiction editor,” and keywords that describe your genre. Look at their posts, click through to their website, and see if their blog posts resonate with you.
Other Considerations when Looking to Hire a Professional Book Editor
When searching for a book editor, it’s important to consider their experience, expertise, and style. You want to find someone who is knowledgeable in your genre and can provide feedback and suggestions that will help improve your writing. But in a way that’s diplomatic and constructive.
It’s also important to find someone who you are comfortable working with. And ideally, especially if you’re writing a series, it can be nice working with an editor long-term, knowing you have a trusted editor at the ready for your next books (just remember to get in touch well in advance!). You’ll no longer feel overwhelmed having to do everything yourself in publishing your book.
Finding a good book editor is crucial for the success of your writing. So if you’re looking for a meticulous and conscientious copyeditor who loves getting into the details (but not getting lost in the weeds), I’d love to work with you.
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Hi, I'm Erika, a fiction copyeditor and proofreader. I love helping indie authors publish the best version of their books.