Finding the Right Fit: Hiring an Editor

Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor
Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

All authors need a second pair of eyes on their work and hiring an editor can be one of the most important parts of your book’s success. Finding a professional editor who shares your vision, maintains your voice, and will work within a reasonable timeline will make your journey to publication easier and more enjoyable.

A mistake some self-published authors make is to try to save money by doing the editing and proofreading themselves. Hiring a professional with experience in editing and proofreading is necessary before publishing a book. Without the help of a good editor, an author risks his book being filled with typos and grammatical errors as well as plot or content issues. In short, editing is not the place to try to save money. Shop around when looking for an editor.  Following are some tips for finding the right editor for your book:

  • Never hire an editor based on price alone. Some editors state a simple flat rate, such as: “I charge $2,000 to edit a book.” There needs to be a basis for that price, both to be fair to the author and to the editor. If the book turns out to be 20,000 words, the author may be overpaying. If the book turns out to be 200,000 words, the editor has probably shortchanged himself.
  • Never hire an editor without it being clear what he or she will do for you. Requesting an editing sample is the best way to determine if you will get what you pay for. The editing sample not only provides the author with an idea of the editor’s style, abilities, and vision for the book, but it allows the editor to calculate approximately how many hours it will take to edit the book based on the author’s writing abilities—grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, character development, and organization.
  • Determining the level of editing needed.  Editing levels vary from something as simple as proofreading, to light and heavy editing. Light editing might require some rewriting of a sentence here or there, along with proofreading for errors. Heavy editing may include rewriting passages, correcting major grammatical errors, making decisions about paragraph order, larger structural issues, and deleting unnecessary passages. Ask the editor what level of editing he feels you need; if you disagree after reviewing the justification for it, seek a second opinion. Make sure the type of editing required for the book and the cost to you are agreed upon before the work begins. You do not want the editor to edit only half of your book, and then ask you for more money.
  • Make sure the editor respects your style. The most important aspect of choosing the editor is not the cost or the timeframe to complete the work. It is how the book sounds when you read it after it has been edited. A good editor will make the book sound like your voice while correcting your grammar and helping you to develop or delete passages as necessary. You don’t want the editor to change your tone. After all, it is your book.

You’ve spent hours writing your book – you owe to yourself to publish the best book possible. One readers will enjoy, remember, and recommend to others. Finding a good editor is key to achieving that success. For more information on how we help authors, visit

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