Hiring an editor for your book is a big decision, and the search isn’t as easy as you might expect. There are a lot of us out there. But hiring the right editor for you is worth every bit of the time, energy, and online legwork it takes to find them.
As you sift through Reedsy profiles, freelancer lists, and editing blogs 🙋🏻♀️, you’d be wise to noodle a few things:
- Does this editor do the type of editing my manuscript needs?
- Does this editor have experience with books like mine?
- Does she understand (and share!) my vision and goals for my book? Did she even ask?
- Is this someone I feel like I can trust?
So am I the right editor for you and your book? Maybe. Maybe not. The best way to find out is to say hi and tell me more about yourself, but in the meantime how about I give you four reasons not to hire me?
I’m not your editor if…
1. You’re a Lone Wolf
Some people want to hand over their manuscript to an editor and say, “see you next month don’t call me bye.” And if you’re nodding your head vigorously in a yep-that’s-me way, then I’m not the right editor for you.
My editing process is collaborative from start to finish, and I see myself as your partner in getting your book where you want it to be. Here’s what that looks like.
Every project begins with an hour-long kickoff call that’s one part strategy session and one part deep dive into Y-O-U. We’ll talk about why you wrote your book, your process, your goals, and the work you do when you’re not sitting at the writer’s desk. I love getting to know my clients well right out the gate, but these sessions are for more than just funsies. Our conversation will help me understand you, your intentions, and the message you want to share so that I can spy all the little opportunities to weave them (or shine a spotlight on them) in your pages.
Throughout the rest of our work together, you’ll see me popping into your inbox with updates and questions—and my door is always open to you to do the same. Or, if we’re working on a Collaborative Edit, you’ll see my smiling face every day as I offer feedback on your writing. Plus, we get to co-work twice a week… It’s basically the dream.
Finally, once I’ve returned the editorial goods to you, we’ll get back on Zoom for another deep-dive discussion. This time, we’ll dig into the issues I found and the advice, ideas, and suggestions you can use to address them. At the risk of sounding like a cheeseball, these calls are where the magic happens. More than a few clients told me that our discussion transformed how they saw their book and made them feel excited about it again.
Then after every project, you’ll still have me in your corner for another four weeks, so you can ask follow-up questions and get feedback as you implement my suggested changes. What can I say? I hate goodbyes.
If you’re muttering to yourself, “Wow, that sounds like a lot of editor”? Then I’m probably not your gal. And if you’re thinking, “Um, this sounds awesome,” welllllll, that’s great and I’m so excited to hear it but it’s not the point of this post.
2. You Need the Work Done ASAMFP
If you’re looking for a developmental edit with a five-day turnaround for your 80K-word draft, you will not find it here. And honestly, you probably won’t find that anywhere.
And if you DO find someone offering the editorial equivalent of a Quicklube, please do not give them your manuscript.
You know the saying, “You can get it done fast, you can get it done cheap, or you can get it done right—pick one”? Well, that goes for book editing in a big way, and *most* editors are do-it-right types.
Speaking for myself and Command+Z, doing it right is the baseline. My clients are people who are really, really good at what they do, and that means I need to hold their book to the same high standard they hold for themselves. So if your cringe draft needs a major overhaul (or even a full rewrite) to clear that high bar, I will tell you so—even when doing so will render your two-month launch plan completely unrealistic. You can decide from there if you’d rather have it done fast or done right, but quick fixes are not the name of my game. Craftsmanship is one of the essential values of my business, and good work takes time.
Here are the ballpark timelines for the types of editing I offer:
- Manuscript Review: 1 week
- Developmental Edit: 3 to 4 weeks
- Editorial Polish: 4 to 6 weeks
- Collaborative Edit: 4 weeks, minimum
It’s never too early in the writing process to start exploring your editing options and engaging the editors you think you’d like to work with—especially because many of them can be booked months in advance. Reach out to me anytime.
3. You “Just Need a Copyedit”
As I discussed in a previous post, I view the book editing process in three stages:
- Big Picture: This stage is all about taking that 35,000-foot view of the entire book. Think outline, structure, argument, and a logical flow of ideas.
- Detailed: Here is where you’ll dig into your writing at the paragraph and sentence levels to tighten, refine, and punch up the words on every page.
- Eagle Eye: The third and final stage is all about cleaning up any lingering errors or mistakes that will make your book look amateur instead of the polished, professional product it is.
A copyedit sits squarely in the Eagle Eye stage, and it’s what you do when your manuscript is 100% DONE; when you’ve tweaked, refined, pinched, pruned, and revised your manuscript so many times that the idea of wading back in for another round makes you queasy; when your editor gives you the all-clear signal to advance out of the Detailed stage; when there are no more improvements to make to your writing… THEN you are ready to work with a copyeditor.
And that means I’m not the right editor for you. Because I don’t offer copyediting services.
But here’s the question worth asking yourself when you “just need a copyedit”:
Are you sure?
Because a lot of authors think they’re looking for a copyedit when what they’re really looking for is a thorough line edit. The easiest way to figure out which path makes sense for your manuscript is to ask an editor for their opinion. Most will be happy to point the way.
4. You Wrote a Fiction Book
Ah craps, we hit a dealbreaker. I specialize in nonfiction editing and do not, cannot, work with fiction books. Seriously, I wouldn’t even know where to start. So if you’ve written a twisting, suspenseful tale, your manuscript will be better served by a fiction editor who specializes in nail-biters. Same goes for that bodice-ripping romance novel, mind-expanding bildungsroman, or your “Great Gatsby but make it Star Wars” epic. (Pew pew, old sport!) Find yourself a fiction editor who works on books like the one you’re writing.
So what do you think? Am I the wrong editor for you? If so, don’t worry. There’s plenty of fish in the sea.
And if this post totally backfired and now you think I might be the right editor for you, well, then I’d love to hear from you.