Finding an Editor: A List

Saturday I spoke on “Secrets of Successful Self-Publishing” at the Allen County Public Library’s annual author fair, and I spoke on the importance of editing and of having an editor. A number of people asked where to find an editor and how to find one appropriate to one’s work, so here’s a follow-up.

Most professional editors will offer a “sample edit” for a discount or even free. This is typical a 5-20 page edit so you and the editor can see how you work together. An editor might find that she doesn’t enjoy my characters enough to spend dozens of hours with them, even for money. I might find that an editor hates the Oxford comma. For whatever reason, we might find we have irreconcilable artistic differences — or we might click really well.

As we mentioned during the session, there are three types of editing:

  1. structural or content editing
  2. line editing
  3. proofreading

open books in huge arrayThe order is important. There’s no benefit in massaging the perfect words into a sentence and nailing that Oxford comma if the whole scene is then cut to improve pacing. You will often utilize different people for different passes through the manuscript. One frequent mistake I hear is that, “I asked a friend who teaches English to edit my manuscript, so I know there’s no misspelled word or missing quotation mark!” But does that friend understand story structure and the pacing expectations for your particular genre?

Your editor should be familiar with the industry and with your genre or sub-genre in particular.

A List of Editors

I mentioned during the session that I had some editor friends who are currently running specials for NaNoWriMo. When I started compiling information, several others told me they were not running open specials but would extend a special offer to anyone who name-dropped that they came to them through my talk or post.

Note that many of these people offer not only editing but coaching/”pre-editing” services. This can be an enormous time- and money-saver. As I said of one professional below:

“Katie is that most valuable of assets for a writer: a good listener who asks on-point questions. She’s keen on structure and knows how to save an author time and money with a little pithy planning. If you’re not sure if your idea is solid or if your plot arc is supported, invest a little time in a consult before you invest dozens or hundreds of hours in your work. It’s worth it.”

Ben Wolf offers all levels of editing services.

Katie Phillips not only offers editing, but has a special $25 consultation for authors embarking on their first professional edit.

Janeen Ippolito is offering a 10% discount on content review/structural editing for 2017 NaNoWriMo finishers — and anyone who tells her they saw this post.

Bethany Jennings offers proofreading services.

Sherry Chamblee offers proofreading for both manuscripts and web copy.

Andi Gregory specializes in line editing.

Grace Bridges offers all levels of help, but prefers to work with manuscripts that have already had some critique.

Pam Halter specializes in kid lit and picture books.

Linda Wood Rondeau offers coaching services and structural review.

Sharon Hinck offers structural edit and line editing, and some coaching.

Saving Money on Edits

Editing is not cheap. That’s because you’re paying for personalized hours of expertise. Good editing will pay for itself in months or years of saved time and in generated royalties.

But you can save editorial time — and therefore money — by bringing the best manuscript you can to your editor. I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of a great critique group. If you’re toward the beginning of your project, a planning/coaching session can help you organize your story and save you a lot of time and effort later.

Also, plan ahead. Many good editors are booked up six months or more in advance. Budget both time and money for your revisions and launch.

I hope this gives you a starting point for your revisions or planning efforts. Happy writing!

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  1. Great list – thank you for sharing,Laura!

  2. “I might find that an editor hates the Oxford comma.”

    Dealbreaker. :D

    This is a great list. Thank you for sharing!

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