7 things you need to know before hiring a book editor

7 things you need to know before hiring a book editor

As an author, it’s important to have your book professionally edited because readers deserve the best product possible. Hiring an editor might seem like a simple task, but it’s actually not as straightforward as you think.

You’re not just looking for someone to help you fix your grammar and typing mistakes. After all, you want someone to make your book really shine on where you will publish it.

To get the most out of your book editor, then, you need to ask them some questions about the kinds of services they can provide, what kinds of manuscripts they can edit, and how much experience they have working with publishers and authors. Here are 7 things to ask your book editor before hiring them.

1. How Long Have They Been Editing?

In order to find the right editor for your manuscript, it’s important to ask them how long they’ve been editing. This will give you an idea of their experience and what type of work they specialize in.

Remember that editors work in all industries and niches and are not one-size-fits-all. The best way to make sure the person who edits your book is the best fit for it is by asking this question.

For example, if you are looking for book editors in the UK, make sure to ask them how they have been doing business and what is their area of expertise.

2. Do They Specialize in Your Writing Niche?

Another important question you need to ask book editors is, do they specialize in the kind of work that you want to publish? That’s important because if someone specializes in fiction and you’re publishing a memoir, it won’t make sense for you to hire them.

An editor can edit the manuscript for you and make sure that everything is spelled correctly, in the right format, etc. The only problem with this is that it will take a long time for you to get your project back. If you have other projects going on at the same time, an editor might not be the best option for you.

Moreover, also ask them about do they have experience with self-publishing books. Is the person experienced with self-publishing books?

That’s very helpful because there are lots of different formatting requirements depending on where your book will be published, and this person should be able to guide you through those steps.

3. What do Their Past Clients say About Them?

There are some things you will have to consider before finalizing the deal with a book editor. One of the best things is to ask about their previous work and how their past clients reviewed their work. Some of these things are:

  1. Find an editor with experience in your genre. It’s important that they have expertise in the field of your project.
  2. If possible, ask authors who have had their work edited by the editors you’re considering and ask them about their experience working with the editor and their thoughts on how the editing improved or harmed their work.
  3. Ask if all of the authors they’ve worked with have been more than happy with their results.

Also, remember to ask them if the feedback has been very positive and whether they offer both editorial and developmental editing. It’s not just about checking spelling, grammar, punctuation, and word usage errors, it’s also about making sure the content is engaging, clear, and concise.

If you need someone who knows the ins and outs of modern publishing, it’s better to research thoroughly and find a good fit for your writing niche and writing style.

4. How Many Books Have They Worked on?

A book editor should have at least five books under their belt. This will show that they are experienced and knowledgeable in the publishing industry. It will also give them enough time to understand your manuscript and offer constructive feedback on how it can be improved.

Also, you will have to ask them what kind of editing they specialize in. Different editors have different areas of expertise such as copyediting, structural editing, developmental editing, or proofreading. Pick an editor who specializes in what you need.

Ask them about their experience in your genre. For example, if you’re writing young adult romance novels, then an editor who specializes in those types of manuscripts will be able to help you create better plotlines and characters.

5. Do They Use an Agent for Operating?

It’s always important to know whether or not the editor uses an agent. If they don’t, then the author will have to pay for the agent, which can make it difficult for many writers who are just starting out.

If they do use an agent, then it’s best if you get in touch with that agent and determine whether or not they’re interested in representing your work as well. In some cases, they may already be signed up with another author and so they won’t be able to represent you.

In other cases, they may be looking for new clients so it’s worth reaching out to them.

6. How do They Perform and Deliver the Edits?

It is important to know which type of program or software the editors use for editing the manuscripts. So, you will have to know whether you need to send them a Word document, a PDF file, or an ePUB file. Some editors just use Google Docs to record changes and do the required editing.

On the other hand, some editors may be comfortable with InDesign and Adobe while editing the graphics and overall look of the manuscript. That’s the reason you will have to ask about their working medium before hiring any freelance book editors.

7. Are They Comfortable with the Deadline?

This question will highly depend on the process of editing and how does an editor prefer editing the document. Moreover, it will also depend on the pricing and budget you have in your mind.

Editors who are good at their work and have enough experience in editing manuscripts will charge more than usual market rates and will guarantee you proper deadlines without any compromises.

If you want someone who can help transform your manuscript into an awesome book, there is a hub of freelance editors on Reedsy. Look if their team is ready to work on your manuscript or assist in taking your existing work from good to great.

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