The Dos & Don’ts of Working with Editors

National Novel Writing Month has come and gone… next comes the rewriting, and more rewriting, and yet more rewriting, until at last it will be time to send books off to editors!

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Finished writing your NaNoWriMo novel, or are you finally ready to get your non-fiction book off to an editor? Find out the top dos & don'ts of working with editors in this article! Learn what you should---and shouldn't---do when connecting with a professional editor to make the most of your editing experience. *** tips for writers *** writer tips ***

But before you do that, here are some DOs and DON’Ts to keep in mind if you are going to be working with a professional editor on your book:

  • DO understand what type of edit you’re looking for before connecting with an editor. Do you want help with the plot and character development, or do you want someone reviewing your work for typos? Those are drastically different types of edits, and most editors won’t have the expertise to do both of these.
  • DON’T expect that you can get editing for cheap. Editing is hard work—not everyone can do it! Budget accordingly.
  • DO let your editor know what you’re hoping for with your book. The more that an editor knows about what you want from them and the parameters around your relationship, the better of a job they will be able to do.
  • DON’T demand that your editor turn around the project within the space of three hours. Especially if you’ve never worked with this editor before.
  • DO try to give your editor as much advance notice as possible. Many editors plan their schedule and the projects they accept based around other projects they are already working on. The type of editing that I usually do involves smaller projects and fast deadlines, so it is a real delight when an author comes to me asking if I have time in about a month to edit their book.

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  • DON’T let weeks and months go by without paying your editor. Prompt payment is important—editors can’t eat unless they’re paid for the work they do!
  • DO ask questions of your editor if you’re not sure why they recommended that you do such-and-such. If you don’t understand a comment or a change your editor made, follow up with them and ask them for clarification! There’s no need to be shy.

What are your best tips for working with editors? Do you have any questions about the writing / editing process? Share in the comments section below!

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Sagan,
    I thought I’d self-publish. Do I need an editor? I am planning to write my book in the next few weeks. Thanks for visiting my site yesterday and coming to my party.
    Janice

    • Great question!

      Yes, self-published authors should definitely still hire an editor. They can catch typos and fix errors in punctuation and grammar, making your book that much more professional (and easier and clearer for your audience to read it).

  2. Great tips here to keep in mind if I ever finish my novel! Thank you for sharing and thanks for visiting my blog. I see many great topics here and will definitely keep stalking you 🙂

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