When it comes to professional editing, editors and their services range far and wide. Each editor will have different experiences, specialties, preferences, styles, rates, and timelines. Finding the book editor that’s right for you requires thought and active searching. Here is how I recommend finding an editor for your specific needs.
How NOT to Find an Editor
But first, let’s discuss how NOT to find an editor. There is one way in particular that I do not recommend—nonspecific, passive searching. What do I mean? I mean finding an editors’s group on Facebook and posting a generic “I need an editor” post. Undoubtedly, you’ll be inundated with replies, most of which will be a race to the bottom in terms of rates and quality.
If you want to find a book editor, active searching will serve you better.
What You Need to Know Before Searching
Before you actively start searching for an editor, there are a few details you should figure out. These include:
- Your Genre — Knowing where your book would fit on the shelf is critical, as most editors specialize in just a few genres.
- Your Length — The length of the manuscript (in words, not pages) is what determines the price and sometimes the timeline.
- Your Budget — It’s a good idea to have a pre-set number in mind that you can’t or don’t want to exceed.
- Your Timeline — Editing can take months, so be sure you know when you need your edits back to move to the next stage.
Knowing these aspects can help you narrow down the pool of editors you might work with.
Active Searching Methods to Find Editors
Instead of waving your unedited manuscript in the air and waiting for editors to rush you with offers, try active and targeted searching. It’s likely you’ll end up doing less work, be less stressed, and find the right book editor when you follow these methods.
- Ask for Referrals: Find a trusted individual within the publishing world (often another author) and ask them for recommendations. If that editor declines your project, it’s still okay to respond and see if they have any other people they can recommend. Editors may edit solo, but we have vast networks of colleagues who specialize in what you might need.
- Search Databases: Find trusted websites such as the Editorial Freelancer’s Association (EFA) or ACES: The Society for Editing, both of which have member directories you can search to find the right editor for your project. This is preferable to putting out a general call on their job boards because you will inevitably have to weed through dozens of non-qualified responses to find the right person.
- Network, Virtually or In-Person: Meeting writers and editors through virtual writing groups and in-person events such as conferences gives you the chance to ask questions and engage with people face to face who could end up being your editor or helping you find one.
- Follow Editors on Social Media: Many editors have social media profiles and pages across platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and more. Search your favorite social media channel and follow editors you jive with. When you’re ready, you can reach out for editing or a referral.
These methods involve active searching, which is bound to turn up better leads and help find you the perfect editor. Why and how does it do this? Trusted professional editors put their efforts into marketing, whether it’s writing blogs, posting on social media, or presenting at conferences. Finding people to follow and reach out to is sure to take less time than sifting through fifty comments on your social media post.
Just as we avoid passive voice in writing, so too must we avoid passive searching methods in finding an editor. Active searching will help you keep to your criteria so you can find the right person to work with.
Jeanette the Writer is a freelance editor and writer based in Dallas, TX. When not at her computer, you can find her crafting, scuba diving, or posting videos of her cats on TikTok. Visit JeanettetheWriter.com for more info and follow @Jeanettediting on TikTok or find her on LinkedIn.