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November 7, 2018
Finding the right editor for your book
by Wendy Dean

Posted by Admin, Written by Wendy Dean

Editing for your book

Now that your manuscript is complete and you’ve gone as far as you feel comfortable in self-editing, it’s time to hire a professional. Believe it or not, there’s much more to editing than just looking something over. But what type of editor do you need?

Types of Editors

  1. Developmental (Content) Editor – This is a broad overview with the focus on the big picture. He/She will make sweeping observations rather than focus on specific details. Does the story flow logically or will it be necessary to move sections of a book around to ensure everything reads seamlessly? A Content Editor may also mention repeated mechanical issues or any other repeated problems in the manuscript, especially when working with a beginner.
  2. Line Editor – He/She has the job of ensuring the writing has rhythm by preserving the author’s voice. The text should have a flow for the reader that makes sense.
  3. Copy Editor – This editor focuses on mechanical issues like consistency in spelling, tense, and events (For example, once I had an author whose character suffered a broken foot. In another chapter the injury was inadvertently changed to sprained ankle. The author needed to remain consistent for the story to make sense).
  4. Editor for Proof Reading – Expertise in identifying misspellings, punctuation, & format errors define this type of editor.


Depending on the author, one might need all 4 types of editing. A great editor can do all of the above; however, the price will reflect the amount of time it takes to make your manuscript perfect. Per word or per page are common methods of charging. However, some editors may charge byphoto image of adult female at desk with laptop thinking the hour. Be sure to do your homework to find an experienced professional within your budget.

Your budget will be a large factor in deciding which type of editor you need. Consider finding a beta reader. This is usually a friend or family member who will preview your manuscript for free. After proof reading a manuscript multiple times, authors start to become word blind. Beta readers can help highlight mechanical and flow issues that can go unnoticed. If you use a beta reader, be sure to thank them in your acknowledgements.

Find a professional who not only has experience in your distinct editing needs, but also in your genre. Someone who is a whiz at editing writing for research isn’t necessarily as adept at editing fiction writing. Narrow your search for an editor by using sites specific to your needs, like Editorial Freelancers Association. If you are a children’s book writer consider joining the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. SCBWI is an excellent resource for peer assistance or recommendations. Authors can also attend regional events designed to enhance their work. Other sites such as WritersCafe or the Whole Hearted Authors group via Facebook can be helpful as well.

Knowing what type of editing you need is crucial for ensuring your manuscript is its best possible version. Never submit a manuscript that isn’t fully edited. Do you have a favorite editor or helpful editing website/app? Let us know in the comments below.

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