How to Find and Work with Professional Editors You Can Trust
One question authors ask me every week in my live sessions (every Wed at 9 pm EST on Tik Tok) is how to find a professional, dependable, and affordable book editor.
I’ve been an author coach and book editor for over 10 years, and I run one of the biggest/best/most trusted editing services online (Write Your Best Book). So, I thought it was time I spread the love and gave you my best advice on finding this magical unicorn who will help you polish and publish a book you can be proud of!
Tips on Finding the RIGHT Editor for You!
~ Don’t bother posting on FB – all kinds of so-called “editors” crawl out of the woodwork claiming they can help you, and basically begging for your manuscript. First warning sign…a professional editor doesn’t have to hunt for work or beg for clients.
~ Ask your author friends directly – if you know any indie authors, reach out to them and ask who they used. Friend to friend referrals are one of the best ways to find someone you can trust!
~ Google it! – yes, you’ll get tons of results, but look for those top 8-10 results, and look at their websites. Are they professional looking? Do they have an easy to find and prove background in editing in their bio? Do they CLEARLY list their services and rates? Do they list reviews/testimonials? Narrow it down to the top 3-4 choices.
~ Author Websites – many of the most popular websites for authors have lists of credible, vetted, and trustworthy professional editors. If they’re trusted by people like Jane Friedman, Dave Chesson, Angela Ackerman, and Becca Puglisi, and others like them, that’s a REALLY good sign!
How to Narrow Down the List
Once you have created a list of the top editors that fit your budget (be sure to keep industry standard rates in mind), narrow them down by filtering for editors who:
~ Offer FREE 5-10 page sample edits and exact quotes
~ Have a professional looking website/social media presence
~ Communicate regularly with clients on social
~ Will give you at least 3 client references (be sure to reach out!)
~ Have written, published, and successfully sold at least one book themselves
These above issues are super important and will help you take a list of a dozen potential editors down to your top 4 or 5, which is about how many sample edits you want to get…max.
Finally, here are some MAJOR red flags to watch out for in your search for a professional editor. Avoid anyone who:
~ Claims they can edit your 70k word MS for a few hundred bucks!
~ Has no background, training, or provable experience editing books!
~ Charges for or refuses to offer a free sample edit!
~ Does not list (at least) their starting rates and fees on their website!
~ Does not have a website!
~ Their social media pages have little to no recent activity!
But overall, when it’s time to choose THE editor for you, you have to trust your instincts! If something in the back of your mind is telling you someone seems too good to be true, or if you have a gut feeling something isn’t right…TRUST YOUR INTUITION!
On the other hand, if you get a good, positive, and friendly vibe from an editor who is clear, concise, transparent, and who clearly knows what they are talking about, THAT’S the editor for you.
After all, this is a huge (and necessary) investment on your part, as well as a business partnership. You MUST be able to trust that this editor has your best interest at heart, that they actually have the skills to help you, and that they will treat you like more than “just another client fee.”
A good, professional, trustworthy editor does not come cheap. Industry standard rates currently range from 0.2 to .04/word (depending on many factors). But that’s why you must INSIST on transparency and only trust editors who are literally an open book (pun intended).
For example, in 2020 alone, my business and I were listed and featured on some of the best, most trusted websites for authors. I’ve been blessed to make friends with and partner with some huge author influencers and collaborate with many author resource and service providers on a regular basis. Check it out:
If you have any other questions about finding and/or working with an editor, feel you have perhaps chosen the wrong editor, or for any other reason, feel free to reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll gladly answer any questions, review any contracts, give you my honest opinion, and help in any way I can…free of charge.
Of course, I’d love to work with you to make your book baby shine! But that’s not what this is about. I’m truly sickened by stories I’m hearing in growing numbers lately about predatory “editors” who either don’t know what they’re doing, lie about their experience, or even drop off the face of the earth after getting their fee! And I’m doing my part to not only put an end to these scam artists, but to show that there ARE trustworthy editors and service providers out there. But it’s also OUR responsibility as authors to do our due diligence, take our time, and make informed choices before trusting our life’s work with JUST ANYONE.