6 steps to find an editor

Editors are essential to help bring a writer’s stories to life. But with thousands of editors out there in the world—especially in the digital age—writers may struggle to find the right editor.

Just because an editor is good, doesn’t mean they’re the right editor for you. For example, if you write science fiction novels, getting an editor who specializes in academic work won’t help your book grow to its fullest potential.

Luckily, there are some proven methods to find the editor for you. Here are six steps to keep in mind when looking for editors.

Directories

Many editors can be found on different professional directories. These directories either have a vetting process or are a part of a prestige editing society. Some of these directories, include:

Specialties

Not every editor can edit every genre. They specialize in certain genres that they know best. They understand the ins and outs, the tropes, and what to look out for. They are not only a professional editor in that area but also a professional reader. Getting an editor who specializes in your genre is a great first step to narrow down some editors.

Credentials

Every editor needs to have credentials to prove they have the skillset to edit your book well. These include college degrees, editing certifications, how long they’ve been editing, and professional editing organizations. Editors usually list these on their website and/or their LinkedIn.

For professional editing organizations, you’ll also usually see the organization’s logo on the website. There are many different organizations, such as:

  • ACES: The Society for Editing
  • Association of Freelance Editors, Proofreaders and Indexers
  • Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP)
  • Editors Canada
  • Editorial Freelance Association (EFA)
  • EPANI: Editors’ and Proofreaders’ Alliance of Northern Ireland
  • Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd)
  • MET: Mediterranean Editors and Translators
  • Northwest Editors Guild
  • Professional Editors’ Guild (of South Africa)
  • San Diego Professional Editors Network (SD/PEN)
  • SENSE | Society of English-language professionals in the Netherlands
  • ​Society of Writers, Editors and Translators (SWET)

Testimonials

Lots of testimonials are a good sign that the editor is trustworthy, especially if they are recent. This shows that the editor has consistent work. The more testimonials there are doesn’t mean the better the editor, but having a good amount is helpful to get a good idea about them.

Another good thing to note with testimonials is to find specific details you’re looking for in an editor. For example, if you’re looking for someone who can do a quick turnaround, check to see if an author mentioned that in a testimonial.

Type of editing

Not every editor does every type of editing. For example, I don’t offer developmental editing. If you know the type of editing you need, make sure the editors you’re looking at also offer that service.

Sample edits

Many editors offer sample edits. They are beneficial for both the editor and the writer. They help the writer see if they like the editor’s editing style. They also help the editor to see how long it might take them to edit your work. I go into more detail about sample edits in this blog post.

I hope these steps help! Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.


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