Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Qualified UK book editor explains how to easily find affordable book editing services for your manuscript!
The editing stage is a crucial step in your journey as a writer, and that means actually investing in a professional editor after you have self-edited your novel. Please, please, please don’t just depend on Grammarly or ProWritingAid. If anything, relying on artificial intelligence to polish your book will cause more harm than good. You know why? Because these types of programs lack the knowledge and understanding of the literary world, which a human book editor, like me, possesses.
So, if you’re serious about attracting your dream literary agent or finding success as a self-published author, you need to find an editor for your book. However, I understand that finding the right editor for your novel can be challenging for some writers – I’ve had a few clients at Stand Corrected Editing who have told me that their previous editors made a mess of their manuscript, which left them out of pocket and back at square one. I’ve been happy to help these writers to get their stories back on track, but if they knew how to find the right editor from the start, they wouldn’t have needed to part with more money and waste more time.
So, to help you avoid the same mistake, I’m going to walk you through how to find the right editor for your book in 7 easy steps.
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to make a purchase through the products and services I recommend. I only recommend things that I truly love and use, so I hope I can recommend something to you that you can love too! :)
1. Understand What Type of Editing Your Book Needs
Some writers have no idea which type of editor they need for their book. Many often believe that they should hire a proofreader after they have finished writing their manuscript, but they couldn’t be more wrong. As a result, they end up wasting their hard-earned cash on a service they don’t need, so it’s essential that you research the different types of editors before you hire and spend your money.
As there is so much confusion about what different editors do, I have written a detailed glossary to help you find the right editor for your book.
Unfortunately, many writers decide against hiring a professional editor before they query literary agents due to the belief that the agent will edit their manuscript for free upon representation. While this is partly true, you need to impress the literary agent first, and that is less likely to happen if your book is riddled with errors and inconsistencies. You may wonder how this information links to the role of an acquisition editor, but there couldn’t be more of a connection.
You see, many writers believe that the editors who read through the unsolicited pile at literary agencies are the same editors who will polish their manuscript to perfection, which is why they refuse to hire one, but this really isn’t the case.
In contrast to editors like myself who perfect the copy or development of a manuscript, an acquisition editor seeks sellable stories for their agency or publishing house. If they are an acquisition editor at a literary agency, they are the ones who read through the ‘slush pile’ in search of the best novels, and if they are based at a publishing house, they will read the novels sent in by agents. As a result, they will most likely possess extensive knowledge of what type of books will sell, so if your book has even the smallest plot hole, character inconsistency or language error from the start, they will likely reject it, which is why it is imperative to hire a professional editor before you query an agent.
As well as taking care of the unsolicited manuscripts, acquisition editors may also converse and negotiate with agents and publishers, depending on where they’re based, while attending various conferences to meet different authors in person. Consequently, they do not have the time to edit an error-riddled manuscript; they will only accept the ones that are the most polished, providing it matches the genre and style their agency or house is looking for. To make more sense of an acquisition editor’s role, here is a brief list of their role:
Reading the ‘slush pile’ for upcoming talent.
Communicating with agents and publishers.
Attending conferences to meet authors face-to-face.
Overseeing the development of a represented manuscript.
So, if you’re someone who relies on the belief that an acquisition editor will simply edit your unedited novel, please reconsider your thoughts and think about investing in one of the following professionals.
Developmental editing focuses on the “bigger picture” of a manuscript and is usually carried out before line editing, copy editing and proofreading. It wouldn’t make much sense to tackle the content of your story after adding and cutting scenes and polishing the language, so if you feel that your manuscript needs a developmental edit, make sure this is the first type of editing you invest in.
To give you more of an insight into what developmental editing involves, here is a list of areas a developmental editor will focus on:
Character Development: Are the characters believable and likeable? Are they relatable and realistic enough for the genre and target audience? Has the reader provided enough detail about them?
Plot: Is the story believable? Is the ultimate goal realistic and achievable? Is it engaging? Are there any plot holes that need to be addressed? Does the plot suit the genre and target audience?
Subplots: Do the subplots enhance the main story? Are they relevant to the main plot? Are they exciting or too complicated?
Dialogue: Is the dialogue believable and realistic to each character? Has each character got a unique voice? Does the dialect match and reflect the time or geographic area? Is the dialogue appropriate for the age of the characters?
Chapters: Do the chapter titles match the content? Are they all a similar length? Are they in the correct order? Could any chapters be cut or merged to tighten the overall structure?
Structure: Is the manuscript structured correctly? Does it follow the three-act structure? Is there a strong beginning, middle and end?
These are all questions a developmental editor may think about when editing a manuscript, but it’s always helpful to keep them in mind yourself when revising your work.
If you're currently looking for a developmental editor, I'd be more than happy to work with you and help you with your manuscript! Here's my professional profile below:
Many often believe that copy ed