Better Manuscripts: Hire a Book Editor

I’m a book editor and I’m a ghostwriter. These are two very different and distinct disciplines.

I’ve ghostwritten plenty of books, and guess what? I have them edited. Of course I do! When I’m wearing the ghostwriter hat, my focus is on populating a manuscript. As a writer, I’m responsible for developing the narrative, the story arc, characters and setting. It’s a HUGE mountain to climb, and it takes all my focus. I need an extra pair of eyes to edit my work.

So the next step is book editing.

The mission shifts when the book is finished.

book editor

After the book is written, it’s time to hand the manuscript over to an unbiased professional. The book editor’s job is to clear books of distractions that crop up in the writing process. You hire a book editor to provide an unbiased assessment of the book and find those little pesky errors, and even larger errors in the structure of the book.

Your manuscript is put under a microscope.

Your book editor surveils for misspellings, typos, grammatical errors, tense, subject-verb agreement, hyphenation, mislabeling and awkward transitions. But you also hire a book editor to assess other important elements—structure, flow, pacing, plot gaps, etc.

How do you hire a book editor—the right editor?

So every author should hire a book editor…but the question is who. Who do you trust with your manuscript? Some book editing companies have a pool of randomly assigned book editors (based on availability). Other enterprises offer boutique book editing services by one reliable book editor, usually the face of the business. That’s me—and I personally attend to each client.

Honestly, I’m am not sure why an author would hire a book editor who isn’t the face of the business. Reputation is everything, and a hands-on editor with a personal stake in your book is your best bet for excellent service.

Here’s what to look for:

  1. Experience
    • Does the book editor have years of experience?
    • What are the credentials (English degree, journalism work, awards)
  2. Independence and Collaboration
    • Ask if your book editor just one in a stable of contract editors, or an independent editor
    • Ask how collaborative the editor is, and what type of book editing skills they bring to the table
  3. Testimonials
    • What do clients say about the book editor?
    • What was the client experience?
    • You can usually tell the temperament and collaborative nature of a book editor from these testimonials.
  4. Amazon
    • Does the book editor work with published clients?
    • Is the book editor listed in the book credits or acknowledgements of a book?
  5. Consultation
    • When you email a potential book editor, you should get an immediate response.
    • You should also get an invitation to consult by phone.
    • You should get an invitation to send the first three chapters and final chapter so the book editor can quote you a price.
  6. Follow Up
    • You should receive chapter feedback within days.
    • You should expect a follow up email and/or phone call if the book editor doesn’t hear back from you.
“Editors we recommend: Melanie Saxton is a professional, widely published writer and editor specializing in book editing and ghost-writing assignments.” ~ Gorham Printing, Centralia, WA

Why hire a book editor? Find more resources below!

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