Getting your book edited is one of the most important elements of publishing a book.
What’s the point of publishing a book if it’s not well done? I often wonder why people would bother writing a book that is full of errors? Don’t be that person. Save an extra $2500 for editing (it may be more or less), and take the time to figure out the process.
Again, do NOT skimp on an editor. Please. Sorry for the repetition, but this is an area I see so many people decide to shortcut.
If cost is an issue, there are self-editing tools you can look into, such as ProWritingAid (aff link) or Grammarly, which both have paid and free versions of editing tools and software. I use ProWritingAid for just about all projects. And guess what? ProWritingAid has real, live editors you can work with too! They partner with a wonderful company, FirstEditing, and you can access them for a free sample edit directly through the PWA tool! Just click on that little person icon, and you’ll be connected.
Editing is something that people think is so simple but can get complicated. There are many things that authors are completely unaware of when they start searching for an editor.
For example, most authors don’t realize that there is a difference between someone who provides copy edits (copyediting is sometimes called line editing), developmental editing, and proofreading. These three editing types require different levels of skill, take different amounts of time, and come at different price points.
A developmental edit is when an editor whips your book into shape, giving it structure and organization. Developmental edits are done in the earlier stages of writing and editing. It’s best to hire out for this kind of editing, as you want someone who will be able lend a critical eye to your work. Not all writers may need a developmental edit, but first-time authors probably will, especially fiction writers. Your editor should let you know what level of edit you need when you submit your manuscript.
You or your editor might do a line edit. Line editing focuses on the language and how it’s used, taking into consideration whether the language or word choice effectively convey an idea effectively.
Finally, you’ll need a copy edit and a proofread. In this stage of editing, the focus is on grammar and syntax errors, aiming for clarity, and cleaning up the writing.
The TIMELINE for Editing
Another thing most authors don’t realize is that the editing process is a back and forth process that can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on how much editing is needed and what type.
Because of the time involved, many editors are not available “on demand” and are often booked out at least one month in advance, sometimes as long as 5-6 months. So, it’s always my recommendation that you start shopping for editors several months before you’ve completed your manuscript.
Obviously, all of this will vary based on the genre and length of book you’ve written. I generally do not find a long wait for a long, drawn-out process for editing a children’s picture book as compared to a 105,000 novel. 🙂
You’ll hear me say this a lot, but GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. 🙂 If you’re writing a YA western, google that.
I also suggest you look on association websites so that you can ensure you’ve found an editor that’s been vetted, but you can find decent freelance editors on sites like Upwork.com.
We also have our own list of preferred editors.
Finding an Editor for Your Book
I recommend the following editors, simply because I have worked with them and can vouch for their integrity.
A great place to start is with directories in professional organizations (see the next section) but that can get overwhelming to search through the entire directory. So, the next base place is referrals from people who have already used editors, or companies like mine that work with editors regularly.
Their prices range greatly – some will charge a by the word rate and some charge an hourly rate. What I would do is email 2 -3 and ask them for a sample edit. (This is standard practice with good editors.) They will ask for a couple of chapters and provide you a sample edit plus a quote based on those sample chapters. These are editors that I work with regularly and trust to do a great job with all levels of editing.
Jodi Brandon- email@example.com (non-fiction and business)
Jen Milius – fantastic developmental editor! – https://www.jennifermilius.com/
Kate Johnston – https://katejohnstonauthor.com/writing-and-editing-services/ – loves YA, fiction, but will edit and proofread most genres
Stacey Aaronson – firstname.lastname@example.org (all genres, I believe)
Dakota Nyght – email@example.com
Iola Goulton – firstname.lastname@example.org **Christian fiction – she is EXCELLENT!
Amy McCormick – email@example.com – line and developmental – mostly nonfiction but is open to other genres
Caroline Smith – firstname.lastname@example.org – Children’s books & other genres
The Bee’s Knees Editorial – https://www.thebeeskneeseditorial.com – Romance Writers
Send us an email at email@example.com with your pricing info, contact/website info, and your portfolio.
Reedsy is another growing company that provides editing and publishing support. https://reedsy.com