Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Finding a Good Editor

This post continues with the writer-ly questions I was asked earlier this month. Now, keep in mind there are many answers to this question. Below are my thoughts. Please share your thoughts in the comments. The collective information will help us all.

"How does one find a good editor?"

I've been fortunate to work with two amazing editors at two different publishers. We clicked, and we had the same vision for my stories. That’s not to say they didn't questions a character’s action or a plot point. They did. Sometimes brutally, drilling down to the smallest details, and my stories were always better for it. If I ever dive into the realm of self publishing, I’d want my novels edited to the same degree as my traditionally published novels.

So how does one find a good editor? References.

I’m a firm believer in word of month. If you’re in the market for an editor, be it for line edits or developmental edits, ask your agent or other authors if they have an editor that they would recommend. If there’s an editor you have in mind, ask for references and then reach out to several people to find out what their experience was like.

No matter if you’re looking for an editor to help polish your story before going out on submission or because you are self publishing, you want her to be familiar with the category and genre you’re writing. There are elements of young adult you don’t find in new adult or adult and vice versa. You want an editor that knows what they are. Look at books the editor has worked on. Ask the editor questions. You can get a feel for a person by their responses. Ask if she is willing to read the first few pages of your book to make sure it's something that interests her. This last point is important for developmental edits. An editor that connects with the characters and plot will be able to provide better feedback than someone who doesn't

Thanks, Ken, for the questions!

Let us know if you have additional advice.


  1. I am not a writer per se but I always learn so many interesting things about writing whenever I read your posts :)

  2. I'm glad I work well with my publisher's editor.
    It's a similar process trying to find the right critique partners. You have to find someone who clicks and who is qualified.

  3. As I read, I wondered what reasonable questions would you ask an editor before hiring them. Should one read samples? I wouldn't know where to begin.

    Love the post :-)

    1. That's a good questions. Some of the things I would ask are:

      What type of books do you edit? (IE: fiction, non-fiction, children, teens, adult, contemporary, mystery, fantasy and so on.)

      Do you offer developmental edits as well as line edits?

      What published books have they edited?

      How many passes through the manuscript do they do?

      What is their time frame for reviewing a manuscript?

      How much is there services?

  4. I've wondered about finding editors a few times. If I ever self publish I definitely want some professional eyes going over my manuscript for sure!

  5. Cherie, Thanks for answering the question. I'm especially happy with the sample questions you provided in one of the replies. I'm copying those down for later.

  6. Good advice! I've also lucked out with some amazing editors--a real strength of Omnific Publishing. I've recommended my main editor through word of mouth several times.

    1. Omnific Publishing does have a great editorial team. =)