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  • Kayleigh

Friday Tip: Choosing Your Editor(s), Part I

Updated: Sep 13

While experience is a key aspect of finding the right editor for your work, it’s not the only thing to consider.

Here are the four main things I suggest writers look into when sourcing their editor, and a few questions to ask as you complete your vibe check:

1. Experience.

OK, it may not be the only thing to consider, but you still need to consider it! Experience can come in a variety of forms: in-house, education, etc. Editors will range in price and experience, usually with the more expensive ones having more years behind them.

ASK: Where did the editor gain their skills? What work have they done? How long have they been editing? Are they a part of professional organizations? Do they have testimonials from past clients?

2. Type of Editing.

Editors tend to specialize in a couple levels of editing. I prefer working with big picture items and voice, so I specialize in developmental and line editing, while some editors enjoy the technical aspects of copy editing and proofreading.

ASK: What levels of editing does your editor specialize in? (If they tell you all of them, they could be telling the truth or that could be a flag. We tend to specialize.)

3. Genre Preferences.

This may be more or less important depending on the type of editing you need. For developmental and line editing, for example, you’ll definitely want someone who knows your genre.

Why? Because themes, tropes, voice, etc. within a Harlequin romance are going to be very different from those of a YA horror (or so we hope), and having someone who understands what readers expect from YOUR genre is important.

ASK: What genres does the editor enjoy reading? What genres do they have experience editing in? What do they know about your genre?

4. Communication Style.

People communicate and receive feedback differently. Some of us may be very direct, some teach or coach, some may be more parental/sugary in their delivery. Know YOUR style first and understand the editor’s. (Sample edits can give you a good sense of their feedback style.)

ASK: How would you describe your communication style/tone of your feedback? How do you deliver feedback (marginal feedback, note, call)? How extensive is your feedback? Do you provide examples of fixes, or do you tell the writer what isn’t working and let them figure it out?

✨ When Do You Ask? ✨

If you haven’t already gathered what you need from their website or previous communications, you may ask the editor via email. Some editors may also offer to jump on an intro call to answer your questions, as well as to learn more about you, your project, and assess if we're a good fit. (Yes! We’re also gauging the relationship and fit!)

Once you feel out whether or not the editor is the right fit for you and your work, then you can dive into more logistical questions.

⏭️ READ PART II for a list of other questions to go over when choosing your editor!

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