Monday 31 January 2022

Finding The Right Editor - The After Process


I've talked about the importance of finding the right editor before on my Authortube channel (found here) but today I wanted to go through it on the blog because it just feels like a good thing to discuss. I've given you, in the past, details about editors and the like and how I work with my own team, what jobs they do for me, and how to go about working with an editor (found here and here).

While editors run the range from developmental/content, to line, to copy, and to proofreaders, you'll be starting at the first and working your way through them. Some editing companies will have a way for you to work with the same team. Others will only do one type of editing, and other still will bundle it up for one editor. Personally, I prefer not doing the latter because I know that it's hard to spot mistakes when you've read through the manuscript more than once or twice, but that's just me.

When you're looking to start the professional edit, it can be quite daunting to find an editor that works with you. You don't want a clash of personalities, or someone who doesn't really get what you're trying to do with this work, and you don't want someone passive who won't even tell you any plot errors along the way. Like with most things in life, it's a balancing act, and since the professional edit isn't cheap, you generally don't want to have to go from company to company to find a good fit.

I've been with the editing team I use for a number of years now. I fit well with all of them working wise, and they fit with me. For me, finding editors has always been a modicum of luck. I met my first editor elsewhere and then when I needed help, she offered to give it a read through. From there my team has grown, and I have to say that I'm really happy with the people I use now.

So how do you know when you're on the right path? What should you look out for as red flags? What can you do to protect yourself, your book, and also your wallet? Glad you asked, because I'm gonna go through them all now.

This is something a lot of editors will offer to prospective clients. They'll do a sample edit of your work, and then you have the chance to see whether you want to engage with their services. This gives you a glimpse into what they're picking up on, and how they are to work with. It's pretty common practice and I've not yet used an editor who didn't offer sample edits. You don't have to pay for this, and it's usually a set amount of pages, so be sure to take that chance.

If the editor doesn't want you to sign a contract, that's a big red flag. If they don't list other clients and have been in the space for a while, that's another red flag. If the sample edit doesn't look like much, if anything, has been done, another red flag. If they push for a deposit at the sample edit, again red flag. If they don't communicate well whether that's through email or otherwise, that's something to be wary of. If they get aggressive in their posts, or edit, then again, that's another red flag.

There are others, but these are the ones I think are most common. Basically I'd say trust your gut. If you're talking to them and they promise to have it to you by a certain deadline and then drop off the face of the earth, that's a huge red flag. You want your editor to be talking to you about the editing process. I don't mean they have to be in constant contact, but you shouldn't have to send email after email to get an answer.


I personally have never done this. I've heard of other writers who have, and while there should always be a contract between you and your editors, an NDA to me just feels like too much. If you're that suspicious of your editor, why are you using them? All the editors I have worked with have only ever had the best interests of my work at heart. They've been good at getting the book into shipshape condition.

As far as copyright goes, I don't know how it works in other countries, but here it's not a necessary step. You can defend your work as your own because once you write it, it's copyrighted. If it ever got to the point of having to defend it in a court of law, your own records will show that you are the original creator and therefore own the copyright.

So there we go, those are three things to think about when looking for an editor and what to watch out for, since unfortunately there are those who would gladly take your money and run. One tip I will give you is to google the editor, speak to other clients of theirs to see what they're like to work with. It's a lot of work, but this is your book baby and you only want the best.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below!

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