Look in the acknowledgements section of any book and you’ll get an idea of just how important an editor is to an author. So how can you go about choosing the right one for your book? What should you be looking for? In this Expert Tips edition, we asked Charlie Wilson of Landmark Editorial for her advice.
When I began freelance editing, more than a decade ago, few professional editors worked directly with authors; our clients were predominantly publishers.
Then came the digital revolution. Editors could more easily market their services and expand their client base. Meanwhile, more and more authors needed editorial services, in their quest to ensure quality in the manuscript, whether for submission to agents or for self-publishing.
The result, today, is a fairly bewildering array of editors-for-hire. Where do you begin choosing one? Here are five qualities to look for as you research an editor and enquire about their services:
Has the editor worked on plenty of books for plenty of clients? Does the editor have experience editing for organisations (e.g. publishers) as well as individuals? Does the editor provide some testimonials from happy clients?
Is the editor’s passion for editorial work coming through? Do they love their job? Do they love books? Are they excited for you that you’ve written a book?
Will the editor be respectful while they work and edit according to your requirements (or will they trample all over you)?
Is the editor businesslike? Do they have a decent website, with terms and conditions? Will they draw up a project agreement and send you an invoice for your records?
Will the editor be diplomatic, but honest? Will you benefit from their sound professional opinion?
Above all, look for positivity. You want the editing process to be a positive experience that makes a positive difference to your book and your writing craft.
Charlie Wilson is an author, ghostwriter and book editor who provides a range of editorial and writing services to publishers and authors worldwide through her company, Landmark Editorial. Her books include How to Succeed as a Freelancer in Publishing and Writing a Marketable Book.
More advice on editing: