Hiring a Professional Book Editor

Another question I get is whether an author needs a professional book editor. The short, definitive answer is yes. You can do the initial self-edit on your first draft and fix glaring errors on your own. You can also ask other authors or volunteers to function as “beta readers” before you hire a professional editor.

But after these first editing rounds, I guarantee that your finished book will benefit greatly from having a professional editor work on it with an objective view. An editor can take your draft manuscript, point out errors, make suggestions and generally make your book better than it would have been.

Editing will take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, so factor it into your book publishing schedule. Editors are in high demand, so there may be time lag on when a good editor can start as well.

I will fix editing errors that I catch as I typeset the book, but I am not a professional editor. I do know a few editors, and you are welcome to contact me for information.

This is one of main issues which sets apart traditionally published books from self published books. The big publishing houses offer a whole editing department. In some cases, yes, I've found errors in traditionally published books I've read, but in general, you will be way ahead of the self-publishing competition if you work with a good editor.

Self Editing vs Professional Book Editors

  • Self editing is a good start and can save you some time and money when you move onto a professional editor. I offer the following tips on how to self-edit with some success.  The best tip I can think of is to set your finished book aside for a time. Forget about it. Don't look at it all and go off and do other stuff.  After several weeks, or better, after several months, come back to your manuscript and read it.  I guarantee you’ll change some things. You can also change the format or font to give it a different look before you read it again. Or read it out loud to yourself or to someone else. You will find errors and make changes.
  • Use beta readers.  These volunteers will pick up things you miss because they have never seen the book before. They can also offer suggestions and ideas to improve your book.  The best beta reader is a person who has no qualms about criticizing your work as they offer their feedback. In other words, avoid family and friends. You want somebody objective.

A professional book editor or editing company may offer several different types of editing:

  • developmental editor will read your book with an eye toward gauging if the content is in the proper order for the best reader experience. This editor may point out that ideas or characters in your book need to be changed or rearranged so that they flow more logically. They may point out plot holes, awkward dialogue and ambiguity in the story.
  • Line editors make sure each word used is accurate and says what you mean it to say, and that your sentences and paragraphs flow well and carry the idea of the book correctly.
  • Copy editors look at consistency, grammar and syntax to make sure each sentence is error-free.
  • Proofreading is the final stage of editing.  The editor reads the book in its final format to make sure no errors have been introduced, and that all typos have been fixed.

The Alliance of Independent Authors offers a list of professional book editors in their self publishing services directory.