WNA Blog

Sun 14 Jan 2018

Top 5 Questions To Ask When Choosing an Editor For Your Book

Educational Services
top 5 questions to ask when choosing an editor for your book

After preparing your manuscript for professional editing you need to find an editor who will collaborate with you.

The editor you choose should ideally be aligned with your values and style, so that there are not significant changes to your manuscript that you will have issues with in most cases an editor should be focussed on tidying up your message, maximising its readability.

Any editing should be a collaboration with you, not a surgical removal of your voice.

It is important to ensure your editor understands the role you want them to play before finally deciding whom to work with.

The below list provides potential places to find an editor:

  1. Upwork (formerly Elance) I have used this freelance platform for over ten years. Other platforms are: freelancer.com, fiverr.com
  2. The Institute of Professional Editors Limited (IPED)
  3. Writers’ centre in your state or territory (Australian Society of Authors/ASA lists these writers’ centres on their website)
  4. Family (helps when you have academics or school teachers!)
  5. Friends (however, this can be a double-edged sword)
  6. Business associates
  7. Clients (especially if you want the book to be relevant to them)
  8. Forums

You should invest time into researching a range of possible editors to ensure that you find the best person for you to collaborate with (and within your budget, both in relation to cost and time turn around).

In my experience, the top 5 questions that you should ask (or find the answers on their website) anyone you are considering as your editor are as follows:

  1. What genre do you prefer to work in?
  2. Can you provide samples of work?
  3. How do you mark up your changes (normally referred to as “redline amendments” or “tracked changes” if the person you are speaking to does not know about this approach politely end the conversation as discipline on tracking changes is arguably the single most important skill an editor should have)
  4. How do you ensure consistent version control of the manuscript?
  5. Do you back up your work?

Often you can find the answers to most of the above questions on an editor’s website. Once these questions have been (mostly) answered, from initial online research, it is best to have a conversation (via email or phone) with the potential editor to ensure you get a level of comfort about your likely compatibility.

Next month, we will look at the key steps in preparing your manuscript for design and formatting.

Until then happy researching.

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