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How to Find a Good Editor for Your Book or Ebook
A good proofreader or editor can significantly improve the quality of a manuscript, giving a book or ebook the best chance of getting noticed and selling well.
It's becoming easier and easier to become a published author. Amazon and Kindle have made it simple to self-publish, and once you've written your book you'll be keen to get it out there for people to see. Before you take that step, it's a good idea to have an editor or proofreader look over your work; although they will charge you a fee, it will be money well spent. Here's why:
- Fixing your grammar, spelling and punctuation
- Making your work read better
- Ensuring that the formatting is consistent
- Providing another perspective
Proofreaders and editors, what's the difference?
A proofreader is a person that will go through your document proofreading it for correctness and accuracy. An editor is normally able to proofread but in addition they can also make more substantial edits to improve and enhance your work.
Some editors also focus on other areas such as helping to develop manuscripts, project management and commenting on the suitability of work for publication.
Fixing your grammar, spelling and punctuation
At the most basic level, one of the most important services an editor will provide is proofreading. This involves going through your work, line by line, identifying and fixing mistakes.
They will look for spelling errors, issues with grammar, appropriate punctuation use, consistency and more. They will help to polish your work to ensure that it is accurate and error-free.
Making your work read better
In addition to proofreading, some editors also provide copy editing services. This means that they will also edit in areas like style, word usage, duplication, ambiguity and more.
They can reduce the number of words used, tighten up the writing and sharpen the language. Good editors will also ask questions about the work to help you enhance it. A thorough copy edit is a great way to make sure that your book is appropriate for its audience.
Ensuring that the formatting is consistent
As well as proofreading and copy editing, some editors can also check that the formatting throughout your work is accurate and consistent. This involves removing extra spaces, making sure that fonts and headings are the same, fixing margins, dealing with line space issues and more.
This all helps the finished work to look as professional as possible. If an editor is not able to provide this, you might want to consider hiring a professional designer to assist with typesetting and formatting.
Providing another perspective
Some editors will also provide advice and feedback on your work. They may do this by providing comments in the manuscript itself or providing a separate assessment if you request it.
They can focus on specific areas or the manuscript as a whole. You can then use this feedback to make changes to your work and improve it further.
How to find a good editor
There are thousands of proofreaders and editors out there, as it's easy to get into the profession. Because of this, it could be difficult to find the right proofreader or editor for you, as in this field, cheapest is seldom best.
Once you've searched online for proofreaders and editors, make a shortlist of the ones that you might be interested in. When you approach them, you might want to ask some of the following questions:
- Are they native English speakers?
- What are their qualifications?
- Can you get a free sample?
- What are their fees and pricing structure?
- What do they specialize in?
- What type of work have they recently completed?
- Is it easy to get in touch with them?
- What are their terms and conditions?
Are they native English speakers?
Some of the larger agencies outsource their work overseas. Although it will be an English speaker who will be completing your work, they may not understand all of the context, colloquialisms and intricacies of the language.
Find out who will be editing your work and their experience in natural, everyday English use.
What are their qualifications?
Find out from the proofreader or editor what their qualifications are. You will probably want someone with more experience than a fresh proofreader who has just completed a two week correspondence course.
You might want someone with a degree in a relevant field like communications or journalism.
Can you get a free sample?
Many of the more reputable proofreading and editing businesses will be happy to complete a short, free sample of your book, so that you can see the type of work that they will do.
Find out if they are prepared to offer this and if there's an obligation if you request one.
What are their fees and pricing structure?
It's important that you know how much money you will be spending on an editor or proofreader, so that you can budget for it properly.
Find out how much you are going to be charged and if there are any guarantees on the price.
What do they specialize in?
Find out if the business, agency or freelancer that you want to use has any specialties when it comes to proofreading or editing.
For example, some may specialize in fiction, others in non-fiction or autobiographies etc. Each type of editing needs a different skill-set, so you'll want to be confident that the person completing work for you has experience in the relevant fields.
What type of work have they recently completed?
See if you can get a list, or at least an idea of the type of work that the editors or proofreaders have recently dealt with.
That can give you an indication of the types of writers that are already trusting the business with their work.
Is it easy to get in touch with them?
You will want to work with an agency or freelancer that's easy to get in touch with, reliable and flexible. Make a note of how quickly they respond to you and see if you like the quality of their responses and answers.
What are their terms and conditions?
Review their website or any contract for terms and conditions. You should check to make sure how they are going to handle your work, payment terms and any other areas that are relevant to you.
Writing an ebook
Have you written an ebook?
Once you've answered these questions, you can decide which editor or proofreader you think will be right for your work. Choosing the right one is important because they will be directly enhancing the manuscript that you're going to be sharing with the world.
Publishing a book is a very exciting time. By spending some time, effort and money on a good proofreader or editor, you'll be giving your work its very best chance of success.